[JURIST] The Jamaican House of Parliament [official website] passed an act Tuesday decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. Under the new law, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana is considered a petty offense [AP report] punishable by a ticket. Beyond consumption, the legislation allows individuals to cultivate up to five plants on any premises. Minister of National Security Peter Bunting [official website] issued a statement following the act’s passage, reinforcing the governments intent to continue combating transnational drug trafficking and illegal cultivation of marijuana. The new law also lays the ground work for the establishment of a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry in the country. Additional regulations regarding the licensing agencies and the establishment of the medical marijuana sector are expected in the coming months.
Jamaica is the most recent country to join a growing global trend of loosening anti-marijuana laws [JURIST backgrounder]. Earlier this week Alaska’s voter initiative legalizing marijuana [JURIST report] use took effect, making it the third state, along with Colorado and Washington, to legalize recreational marijuana. In November voters in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC, voted [JURIST report] to legalize recreational marijuana. Also in November the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime [official website] expressed concern that the legalization of marijuana by some US states is not compatible with existing international drug conventions.