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Justice Minister defends ganja reforms pace

Published:Wednesday | December 17, 2014 | 12:44 AM

Jovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding is defending the pace at which Jamaica is enacting ganja reforms.




He says Jamaica must ensure everything is done right to be able to defend itself to international partners when laws are in place that will legalise certain uses of ganja.



Former People's National Party, president P.J. Patterson and current general secretary Paul Burke have become the latest critics of the reform process.



Recently, a United States drug advocate, Dr Ethan Nadelmann said if greater urgency is not exercised, Jamaica could find itself importing ganja from the United States in the next 10 years.



Speaking on Nationwide Radio last evening, Senator Golding said the drafting of legislation to decriminalise ganja and enable a medical marijuana industry is complete.



Golding says two laws are now being examined by ministries that would be affected by them.



Meanwhile, Senator Golding is insisting that Jamaica is not dragging its feet on the reform process.



He says Jamaica cannot follow in the steps of Uruguay, which is the only country that has legalised ganja for recreational purposes despite signing to various anti-ganja international conventions.



And he adds that even with several states enacting pro-ganja laws, the federal US government has not changed its laws which restrict marijuana usage.



In September, Parliament approved amendments which will result in persons convicted for minor offences having their records expunged.



The bill also makes provision for automatic expungement for convictions for certain minor ganja-related offences.



And the Cabinet has approved a regulatory framework for the commercial growing of ganja and for a medical marijuana industry.



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