First Look

G2K welcomes decriminalisation of ganja

G2K | 2015-02-25 00:00:00

Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party, welcomes the announcement that Parliament has approved the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act. The amendment is being hailed as progressive as it decriminalises the possession of small amounts of marijuana. G2K’s legal advisor, Mr. Alando Terrelonge said, “it must be noted that G2K has been calling for the amendment for some time now. It is a victory for social justice. For too long, we have criminalised what is largely a victimless crime. Too many Jamaicans, mostly young, black males, have been victimised and criminalised over the years by a law that has been oppressive and outdated!” In the interim, until the Governor General gives his Royal Assent and the Bill becomes law, G2K is once again imploring Judges and Resident Magistrates to exercise their discretion and stop fingerprinting persons now before the Courts for possession of ganja in small quantities and for smoking ganja.

According to Terrelonge, “the amendment to the law is significant as young men with small amounts of marijuana will no longer be arrested and carted off to prison until they are granted bail. They will no longer be shackled by criminal records which make it impossible for them to get certain jobs, to travel overseas, to access the farm work programme, or to migrate when family members abroad file for them.” More importantly Terrelonge noted, “no more young Jamaican males will ever have to suffer the brutal and unfortunate fate of Mario Deane and Oshane Dothlyn, who died tragically while in police custody after being arrested for having marijuana in their possession.”

The announcement is further hailed as a victory for religious rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution as special provisions will be made for the Rastafarian community to use marijuana as a religious sacrament, and by individuals for their own private personal use. G2K further highlights the economic benefits to be gained by the amendment. Terrelonge noted that, “the persistent criminalising of marijuana over the years has retarded a viable industry for Jamaica’s economic growth and development. The amendments to our laws will no longer impede scientific research into the benefits of medicinal marijuana, and as a result, Jamaica now stands to gain immensely from decriminalising ganja.”

G2K is recommending a nationwide public education campaign to advise minors of the dangers of substance abuse, as well as to ensure that citizens understand the differences between decriminalisation and legalisation. The organisation further recommends that immediate steps be taken by the government to enact the necessary regulations to govern the granting of licenses for the development of lawful medical marijuana and industrial hemp industries.

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