SAN JUAN – The government of Jamaica said Thursday it will create a public education campaign to discourage the use of marijuana among specific groups in society.
The campaign is needed as “it is fully recognized that the use of ganja (as pot is known on the island) in Jamaica by adolescents and other vulnerable groups is a pressing social problem,” Justice Minister Mark Golding said in a statement.
The campaign will target teens, persons with mental disorders, pregnant women and other vulnerable persons.
Golding outlined the proposal the day before a bill to decriminalize marijuana for medicinal or religious purposes is due to arrive in the Jamaican Senate.
The series of amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1948 include the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority.
The minister said the prevention campaign is to be supported from a portion of the revenues anticipated from the establishment of the new licensing regime.
“The legal prohibition on ganja has meant that the very real need for public messaging to discourage abusive practices in relation to ganja has been largely ignored,” Golding said.