Marijuana Legalization in the Caribbean
In the U.S, the legalization of marijuana began in 2012. The process is evolving rapidly. Most states are expected to legalize small amounts of cannabis. Other countries are also joining the bandwagon. We are now talking about marijuana legalization in the Caribbean. Let us delve more into it below:
The legalization of ganja in the Caribbean began in the home of Rastafari, Jamaica. Rastafarians regard the use of cannabis as sacred. New laws in Jamaica have now freed the members of this religion to use it freely. Pot was criminalized in the early 20th Century, when Jamaica was under Spanish colonial rule. Despite gaining independence in 1962, the laws did not change. In 1964, the Jamaican government signed an agreement in a UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs, agreeing to treat marijuana as a harmful drug. This led to the channelling of millions in funds for the eradication of hemp plantations.
The legalization process entailed voting to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of pot. This law could pave the way for a regulated medical cannabis industry. It could result in lesser tensions between the government and the Rastafari community. Legislators pointed out that the law does not create a ‘free-for-all’ environment where people can grow, deal with, transport or even export hemp.
While the process might take some time to make it legal, marijuana does have enormous benefits that can be used for medicinal purposes which can be a good case in point for legislators to put up in their defense because CBD Dosierung für Katzen is extremely popular in the Caribbean and its oil can work wonders for patients grappling with body issues.
The country’s minister of National Security said that the move was a good way to ensure that young people’s lives are not marred with criminal records for possessing small amounts of cannabis, referred to as ‘spliff’. ‘Spliff’ refers to a joint that is prepared using cannabis and tobacco.
Jamaica’s parliament decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. They are also set to establish a licensing agency that will regulate an industry of medicinal marijuana. Residents are allowed to carry a maximum of 2 ounces of marijuana. They can also grow a maximum of 5 plants, in permitted areas. Cannabis was also decriminalized for religious ceremonies and medicinal use. The new amendments also allow for possession of marijuana for certified scientific research.
If you are a tourist and you have a prescription for medical marijuana from your resident country, you can obtain a permit and buy a maximum of 2 ounces of local ganja during your stay.
Jamaican laws on hemp may change in the future due to an influence by the Rastafari movement, as well as tourists from other parts of the world, especially the U.S. where there is already marijuana tourism.
There is still confusion about the new laws. Consumers of marijuana expect the police to show more restraint when they find someone in possession of marijuana. Instead of getting arrested or having a criminal record, the penalty is a $5 ticket. Marijuana advocates are very impressed by the progress this far.
The rationale behind marijuana legalization in the Caribbean
Legalizing cannabis could stem from the realization among a number of countries in the world that cracking down on ganja does little in curbing its illegal consumption and trade. In fact, the Rastafari religion is said to be largest supplier of cannabis to the U.S, according to a report by the BBC.
Other countries that have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis are: Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina. Guatemala proposed the legalization of hemp, while Chile and Costa Rica may consider allowing medical marijuana use.
The foundation of legalizing hemp in the Caribbean was probably laid over a decade ago, when Dr.Kenny Anthony, St.Lucia’s Prime Minister proposed the formation of a CARICOM (Caribbean Community) commission on ganja. The proposition was never implemented. Interestingly, in 2014, a letter was sent to Caribbean leaders by Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, St.Vincent and the Grenadines. This letter sparked new debate on the decriminalization of hemp.
Gonsalves also sent a letter to CARICOM’s chair calling for a debate chaired by political and civic leaders. He based his proposition on the fact that ganja has already been legalized in some states in the U.S., especially for medical and health purposes.
Gonsalves further argued that if measures to legalize cannabis were not taken, people in the Carribean would soon begin to consume the products that will be produced in the US. There was still some hesitation, and some leaders cited the need for further research on the implications of legalizing marijuana.
The Caribbean economy has undoubtedly been affected by globalization. Many young people in the CARICOM are unemployed. The legalization of marijuana in the Caribbean is certainly a great opportunity for these young people to tap into this budding niche. As aforementioned, it will also ensure that young people do not have criminal records for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
Decriminalization of hemp in the Caribbean will also ensure that people are free to engage in income generating activities. This is because they will not serve jail terms for possessing marijuana, or even pay expensive fines that will take a toll on their finances. On a larger scale, the overloaded prison systems will be relieved. There will not only be fewer people in jail, but the funds used in the jail system will be channelled to other sectors of the economy.
Legalization of ganja in the Caribbean will allow for innovation and discoveries. For example, Dr. Albert Lockhart has discovered medicine derived from marijuana, for instance, Canasol that treats glaucoma, and Asmasol that treats asthma. Decriminalization did not allow such discoveries to take off as they could not receive funding from the government.
While some researchers say that drinking alcohol is more harmful than smoking marijuana, legalizing cannabis in the Caribbean is more of a social experiment. It is an opportunity to actually observe the effects on ganja on a significant part of a population.
Marijuana legalization in the Caribbean is a positive step toward economic growth. There is a high potential in this budding niche. Jamaica has set the pace among CARICOM. Though there is still some uncertainty about its health effects, there is a social and economic basis for its legalization.
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