GANJA LEGAL REFORM - F.A.Qs
10 Questions & Answers about the proposed changes to the Ganja Law in Jamaica 2014
Q1. What is the Law that deals with Ganja in Jamaica?
The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1948 is the law which addresses all illegal substances in Jamaica.
Q2. What does the current Law say about Ganja?
The law says that it is illegal and it is a crime to sell, cultivate, transport, possess or use Ganja. It is also against the law and a crime to be found in possession of any pipes or utensils associated with the use of Ganja.
Q3. What are the proposed changes to the Law?
Basically the proposal is to decriminalize the possession of 2 ozs or less of Ganja and make it an offence for which a ticket would be issued rather than arrest and a criminal record. As well, Rastafarians will be allowed to use Ganja in designated places of worship.
Q4. If accepted, will Ganja now be legal in Jamaica?
No. That part of the law has not changed. Ganja is still illegal and can still attract criminal charges/sanctions.
Q5. What is the difference between criminal and illegal?
Something is criminal when it needs to be punished within the criminal justice system. Something is illegal because the law in that country does not permit it.
Q6. If accepted, what will happen to a person found with under 2 ounces of Ganja?
Persons will not be arrested for under 2ozs. They will be given a ticket with a monetary penalty to be paid outside of the court system. If the person found in possession of ganja is a minor, or an adult who appears to be dependent on ganja, the police officer should issue a ticket and also refer him/her to the National Council on Drug Abuse.
Q7. What will happen to someone found with more than 2 ounces of Ganja?
This person can be arrested. Any person caught with amounts of ganja over 2 ounces can still be locked up and charged, since it is over the decriminalized limit and this is still considered a criminal offense. This person can be referred to the Drug Court Programme
Q8. What will happen if I get a ticket and it is not paid?
The current suggestion for people who do not pay their ticket is an order for community service.
Q9. Does the Law say where the person can smoke Ganja?
Ganja smoking will not be permitted in public spaces and private use is by special provision for places of worship.
Q10. Where can I go for more information?
The National Council on Drug Abuse is ready to provide information to the public about the dangers of all legal and illegal substances.