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Decriminalisation of ganja 'long overdue', says opposition

Published:Monday | February 24, 2014 | 12:12 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, says the plan by the Jamaican Government to decriminalise marijuana by year end is long overdue.




Decriminalisation would result in the abolition of criminal penalties and would require appropriate amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act.



Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, Phillip Paulwell, yesterday confirmed that action would be taken this year in keeping with parliamentary approval.



Spokesperson on Justice, Alexander Williams, says the decision is a step in the right direction and the Opposition is looking forward to the parliamentary debate on the matter.



He says focus should now be placed on the full legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes.



Paulwell has said a submission is to be taken to the Cabinet with the likelihood of approval before December 31.



Decriminalising ganja would represent the first major step in line with recommendations made in 2001 by the National Ganja Commission.



Uruguay and several American states have legalised the cultivation of marijuana.



Jamaica is a party to three international conventions, including the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotics, which prohibits the production and supply of drugs including ganja.



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