Jamaica explores legalising marijuana
KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 03, 2008 – Even as the United States State Department points to Jamaica being a hub for marijuana production and export in the Caribbean, the island's government has revealed it's exploring the possibility of making the drug legal.
"We have discussed it, and we are preparing a report to present to the prime minister," said Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh who said a seven-member government commission has been researching possible changes to the anti-drug laws.
The Rastafarian community in the island has for along time lobbied for the drug to be legalised, insisting that using it is part of their religion. Their calls received some support when a 2003 government commission recommended legalizing ganja in small amounts for personal use.
Such a move could cause Jamaica to lose its United States anti-drug certification, and as a result, face economic sanctions.
Just last Friday, in its 2008 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the U.S State Department pointed to Jamaica as the Caribbean's largest producer and exporter of marijuana and marijuana derivative products. The country was also identified as a major transit point for the illegal drugs "due to its difficult to patrol coastline, over 100 unmonitored airstrips, busy commercial and cruise ports, and convenient air connections".
That report suggested that the Jamaica government implement new reforms to fight drug trafficking.