KINGSTON – The Jamaican government is being urged to enact legislation to decriminalize marijuana and foster the development of a medical marijuana industry.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s administration should move on the issue within the next four months, the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Task Force said.
The task force, which organized a three-day meeting on marijuana decriminalization at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies, proposed a 12-point program.
As a first step, the Jamaican government should immediately expunge all criminal convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana, the panel said.
The task force said Jamaica would significantly benefit from a regulated medical marijuana industry.
Leaders of Jamaica and other Caribbean Community nations are set to discuss decriminalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes when they meet in Antigua in July for their annual summit.
A preliminary report issued in March by the CARICOM Secretariat said that allowing medical marijuana could help boost the region’s economy.
St. Lucia’s government has already said it is important for CARICOM to adopt a regional approach to marijuana legislation.
“The movement of citizens within the region makes it difficult to deal with the decriminalization of marijuana on an individual basis. Therefore, I personally believe that this issue must be dealt with on the regional level,” Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony said earlier this year.