It goes without saying that with the passage through both houses of Parliament of the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, and with the Governor General’s assent imminent, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) should immediately stop arresting people with less than two ounces of marijuana.
For the legislation which now decriminalises ganja for possession of small amounts of the weed to make sense, the much-touted public education has to begin immediately.
Chairman of the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association, Orville Silvera, acknowledges that several Jamaicans are of the opinion that ganja is no longer illegal and have closed their minds to any other possibility.
Silvera is appealing to the private sector to assist in implementing urgent public education programmes to include communities and public hearings.
He noted that the concern is greater when tobacco regulations are enforced with the ganja laws. Persons may find themselves facing heavy fines and possible jail time if they misunderstand the provisions.
He emphasized that smoking in public places is illegal.
When the laws are amended, possession of ganja weighing two ounces or less will be a ticketable offence instead of an arrestable one, and persons will have the option of paying the fine as they do traffic tickets.