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article imageJamaica plans to legalize marijuana

By Chris V. Thangham     Mar 3, 2008 in Politics
Jamaican government is considering legalization of marijuana by modifying it current anti-drug laws. The police in Jamaica have complained that they are overloaded with marijuana related cases.
The drug is revered by the large Rastafarian population living in Jamaica. The group says smoking is part of their religion. But the politicians are not doing this to appease the Rastafarians but rather the police, who have complained that the courts are filling with marijuana related cases and they are overburdened because of it.
A seven member government commission has been set up to discuss it and possibly make amends to the existing anti-drug plan according to the Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh.
In 2003, the government recommended legalizing marijuana in small amounts for personal use, but never really enforced it. They were afraid they will lose their country’s US anti-drug certification. If they had lost it, then they would have faced economic sanctions from the US.
So, if they reintroduce that law again, they will face the same situation, but apparently the Jamaican government is planning to proceed with it whatever the consequences may be.
A report released on Friday by the US State Department showed that Jamaica is the largest producer of marijuana in the Caribbean and is a major hub for drugs bound to the US.
Members of the Rastafarian movement, which emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s out of anger over the oppression of blacks, have long lobbied for the legalization of the drug that they say brings them closer to the divine. There are an estimated 700,000 Rastafarians in the world, most of them among Jamaica's 2.6 million people.
If the Jamaican government goes ahead with the plan to legalize marijuana, it will see more visitors from the North America. But US may sanction Jamaica and enforce a travel ban.
More about Jamaica, Legal, Cannabis