SAN JUAN – Jamaica’s governor-general Patrick Allen has given his assent to the amendment of the 1984 Dangerous Drug Act Bill to decriminalize the use of marijuana for medicinal or religious purposes, allowing the law to take effect, a Justice Ministry spokesperson confirmed to Efe on Wednesday.
Although Parliament approved the bill in late February, Allen’s approval was needed for enactment of the legislation, the spokesperson said in a phone interview.
Under the new law, possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana will be treated as an administrative offense subject to a ticket, not a crime.
It also permits the use of pot for religious ends which will benefit Rastafarians, who regard smoking marijuana – which they call ganja – as a sacrament.
The amendments also mandate the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority that would grant permits for the cultivation, processing, distribution and sale of marijuana for medicinal, scientific and therapeutic purposes.
But the Justice Ministry representative told Efe there is no timetable regarding the establishment of the authority.