The Jamaican government said Thursday that the country is planning to revamp its marijuana laws by moving to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and allowing possession for religious, scientific, and medicinal uses.
Under the government’s proposed changes, the possession of two ounces or less of marijuana would become a petty offense resulting in a fine, instead of a criminal arrest.
The new rules are a major improvement for Jamaica’s Rastafari, who smoke marijuana as a spiritual sacrament, and have continually faced the threat of prosecution because of it.
Justice Minister Mark Golding stated, “I wish to stress that the proposed changes to the law are not intended to promote or give a stamp of approval to the use of ganja for recreational purposes. The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities.”