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Cabinet approves proposal to decriminalise small amounts of ganja

Published:Thursday | June 12, 2014 | 4:07 PM

Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer



KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The Portia Simpson Miller Cabinet has approved proposed amendments to the law that will decriminalise the possession of small amounts of ganja.




At the same time Justice Minister Mark Golding, who made the announcement today, says the government will soon table a bill in Parliament that will seek to expunge the criminal records of persons convicted for possession of small amounts of ganja.



Speaking at a Jamaica House press conference a short while ago, Golding said Cabinet has approved proposed changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act to make possession of 0.057 kilogram or less a non-arrestable offence.



Instead, under the proposed changes it will become a ticketable infraction that will attract a fine which offenders can pay outside the court system.



He says failure to pay the ticket within 30 days will be a minor offense punishable in the petty sessions court or by an order for community service.



In addition, Golding said the Dangerous Drugs Act is to be amended to remove the smoking of marijuana as an offence as well as the possession of pipes and other items used in connection with the smoking of ganja.



He says possession of ganja for religious or therapeutic purposes as prescribed by a registered medical practitioner or for scientific research by an accredited tertiary institution will also be decriminalised



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