Jamaica Finally Decriminalizes Marijuana on Bob Marley's 70th Birthday
In case you've been living under a rock for most of your life, Jamaica and marijuana go together like peanut butter and jelly, despite it still being illegal in a country whose residents refer to it as the holy sacrament, "ganja". In an epic fashion however, and on the birthday of reggae legend Bob Marley, Jamaican officials have finally decided to decriminalize marijuana, a decision that has been long overdue from a cultural perspective. According to the new marijuana law passed by the Jamaican Senate this past Friday, possession of two ounces or less of marijuana will no longer be cause for arrest in the small Caribbean nation. The new legislation which is scheduled to be debated over next week by members of the Jamaican House of Representatives, will allow marijuana businesses to obtain licenses, permits, and other authorizations needed for establishing a legally compliant marijuana industry, in accordance with Jamaican law. Statistically, out of the 6,150 Jamaicans convicted of crimes in 2013, 71% of those people were convicted of drug offenses mostly associated with non-violent marijuana possession, according to data from the Criminal Records Office of the Jamaican Constabulary. Although the new law would significantly decrease marijuana possession charges for residents living in Jamaica, as well as decrease the $37.5 million (2013 data) in fines associated with the offense, some officials have criticized the new law as being unfair to those living outside the parameters of the Rastafarian culture. Regardless of these minor discrepancies, Jamaicans can expect an overdue marijuana bill that could potentially be a catalyst in the establishment of all out legalization of recreational marijuana in the country. The bill also sets a precedent in it's coincidental timing, which is in correlation with the birthday of the late Bob Marley, a legendary activist/reggae superstar known best for his inspirational music, that touched the hearts of all those with an open mind. "My favorite herb-lamb's bread. Kali. I like Hawaiian. But for some reason, you communicate better with Jamaican herb. The best Jamaican herb, it has more energy, more everything to it." -Bob Marley Let's see if Bob's right!