Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, tabled the much-anticipated Bill proposing the automatic expungement of convictions for certain minor ganja-related offences in the Senate. The Bill, officially titled An Act to Amend the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders), also provides that conviction for a minor offence of ganja possession, which involves a fine of $1000 (or such other amount as may be prescribed), or for smoking ganja, shall not be entered into the criminal record of the offender.
Decriminalisation is only half the answer. As long as supplying drugs remains illegal, the business will remain a criminal monopoly. Jamaica’s gangsters will continue to enjoy total control over the ganja market. They will go on corrupting police, murdering their rivals and pushing their products to children. People who buy cocaine in Portugal face no criminal consequences, but their euros still end up paying the wages of the thugs who saw off heads in Latin America. For the producer countries, going easy on drug-users while insisting that the product remain illegal is the worst of all worlds.
William Brownfield, assistant secretary at the US Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, has charged that Jamaica and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states that are moving to change marijuana laws did not consult the US government. He had informal talks with some CARICOM states but said those discussions were "not structured as formal dialogue between governments or between international partners". He also revealed that the US had developed four basic principles to address the issues surrounding the growing move to legalise marijuana. (See also: No need to consult US on ganja, says Knight)
Jamaica es el primer país que propone despenalizar la marihuana para propósitos religiosos. Un documento emitido por el Ministerio de Justicia el 11 de junio delineaba las reformas a la ley en relación con la ganja. La propuesta, que según el ministro Mark Golding presenta un enfoque más inteligente al problema de las drogas, contempla la posesión de pequeñas cantidades de la hierba para uso personal, consumo en lugares privados y con fines medicinales, así como la despenalización para su uso como sacramento religioso.
The war on cannabis seems to be slowly burning out. On June 12th Jamaica announced that it plans to decriminalise possession of small amounts of the drug. Several countries, including Mexico and Portugal, have already taken this step, and many others are considering it. A handful of other jurisdictions—so far only Uruguay and the states of Colorado and Washington—have taken a different approach, not decriminalising but instead legalising cannabis. Many people mistakenly use the terms “legalisation” and “decriminalisation” interchangeably. What is the difference?
Possession of a mere handful of marijuana has for decades clogged Jamaican courts with petty cases and distracted an undermanned police force from tackling the crime cartels pushing drugs and guns. The recently proposed decriminalisation of marijuana has been long anticipated and much unfulfilled. Fearing those big-stick-wielding neighbours, the United States, would crack Jamaica's backside, politicians have avoided pressing the reset button on a law that has proved unwieldy, expensive and downright stupid. (See also: No fall-out expected from decision on ganja)
On June 2, Cabinet approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to the possession of small quantities for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes. Approval has been given also to a proposal for the decriminalisation of the use of ganja for religious purposes. The decriminalisation of ganja in Jamaica has been the subject of considerable study and recommendations over the years. A 1977 Joint Select Committee of Parliament which reviewed ganja use and legislation, stopped short of recommending its legalisation. (See also: Clear up inconsistencies in the proposed ganja reform)
Jamaica dejará de perseguir la posesión de marihuana en cantidades inferiores a 56,7 gramos, una despenalización parcial que era reclamada a nivel interno desde hace tiempo y que será tenida en cuenta por otras islas del Caribe. El ministro de Justicia de Jamaica, Mark Golding, detalló que todo aquel que sea descubierto con pequeñas cantidades de esa planta ya no será multado ni penado, después de que el Consejo de Ministros de la isla aprobara cambios en la legislación actual.
The Jamaican government has approved proposed amendments to the law that will decriminalise the possession of small amounts of ganja. Justice Minister Mark Golding says the government will soon table a bill in Parliament that will seek to expunge the criminal records of persons convicted for possession of small amounts of ganja. Speaking at a Jamaica House press conference a short while ago, Golding said Cabinet has approved proposed changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act to make possession of up to two ounces (57 grams) or less a non-arrestable offence. (See also: Jamaica government announces major changes to drug laws)