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US says it's OK to legalise ganja but ...

Published:Wednesday | February 11, 2015 | 2:23 PM

The United States government says Jamaica's attempts to liberalise its marijuana regime are fine as long as the country respects international conventions.

The Jamaican Senate has approved the Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act of 2015 that seeks to decriminalise ganja for medicinal, religious, and private use.

There have been public concerns that such a move could conflict with US and international conventions such as the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics, which prohibits the production and supply of drugs, including ganja.

However, speaking on Nationwide Radio yesterday morning, public affairs officer at the US Embassy in Jamaica, Joshua Polacheck insisted that his government was not interested in influencing the decision-making process in Jamaica.

He says the US partnership with Jamaican authorities in relation to drug crimes is focused on transnational issues and not on small scale consumption.

The US official says even American states that have liberalised their marijuana laws have done so while still honouring international rules.

Polacheck also disclosed that the US and other international partners were consulted before the legislation came before the Jamaican parliament.

Justice Minister, Senator Mark Golding, who has been leading the legislative changes has repeated that Jamaica remains committed to fighting drug crimes and upholding international conventions outlawing certain drugs.

Under the proposed laws, the possession of up to two ounces of ganja will become a non-arrestable offense.

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