Jamaica and Its Widely Praised Ganja Reform Are at a Crossroads

Jamaica decriminalized cannabis last year, thanks in a large part to Justice Minister Mark Golding. But Golding’s party was voted out of power last week. There’s a good chance his replacement will move forward on reform, but it’s no sure thing.

In April 2015, the government of Jamaica, under the People’s National Party, amended the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) to decriminalize cannabis possession, legalize home cultivation of up to five plants for medicinal and sacramental use, and create a new, licensed industry for medical cannabis and hemp. Such reform was hailed at home and abroad.

However, the recent upset results of the parliamentary election have brought the opposition, the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP), into power. This is likely to slow the island’s current push to regulate its ganja industry.

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