Jamaican government announces radical changes in drug laws

marijuana

According to the BBC, Mark Golding, the Justice Minister of the Jamaican government, said the cabinet was supporting a proposal to allow possession of up to two ounces (57 grams) of marijuana, known locally as "ganja."

Mr Golding also said marijuana would be decriminalised for religious, medicinal and scientific purposes.

The Jamaican parliament is expected to approve the changes by September.

The Jamaican government has been timid reforming "anti-ganja" laws but recent changes in drug laws in countries like Uruguay or in US states such as Colorado, a sense of the inevitability of future widespread legalization, and a sense that Jamaica may loose out economically if it does not change its laws have embolden the legalisation of marijuana.

Angela Brown Burke, Kingston's mayor, reportedly said recently: "The time has come to provide an opportunity for Jamaicans to benefit from the marijuana industry."

Many Jamaicans believe the decriminalisation of the marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes could bring important economic benefits to the island's economy which has been suffering from slow growth, high unemployment, and high debt.

The government plans are a major victory for Jamaica's Rastafarian movement, which considers ganja sacred.

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