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Jamaica has legalised 'ganja' (no, it wasn't always legit)

Only small amounts of weed will be permitted under new laws.

Image: Apexchange

JAMAICAN LAWMAKERS HAVE passed an act to decriminalise small amounts of pot and establish a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry on the Caribbean island.

After several hours of debate, legislators in the lower House gave final passage to drug law amendments that make possession of up to two ounces of marijuana a petty offence that would not result in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises would be permitted in Jamaica, where the drug has long been culturally entrenched but illegal.

Rastafarians can also legally use marijuana now for religious purposes for the first time on the tropical island, where the spiritual movement was founded in the 1930s.

And tourists who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad will soon be able to apply for permits at a cost authorising them to legally buy small amounts of Jamaican weed, or “ganja” as it is known locally.

For decades, debate has raged in Jamaica over relaxing laws prohibiting ganja. Previous efforts to decriminalise small amounts of marijuana have been scuttled because officials feared they would violate international treaties and bring sanctions from Washington.

But emboldened by changes to drug laws in other countries, Jamaican officials now have high hopes that the island could become a player in the nascent medical marijuana industry, health tourism and the development of innovative pot-derived items.

Read: Weed is now legal in another US state

Read: Singer hits back after E! host says dreadlocks could ‘smell of weed’

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Associated Press

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