In Jamaica, Supporters Push Towards Marijuana Legalization
Contrary to what some may think, the herb popularly known as "ganja" is illegal, yet it manages to attract tourists from all over the world. A group of advocates says the country should turn that to its advantage.
Later this month, Jamaica’s Ganja Law Reform Coalition will host an international conference in Kingston designed to draw attention to marijuana decriminalization, reform, and commercialization in the country that has — for better or worse, depending on who you ask — done more to popularize the herb than any other. Justice Minister Mark Golding says the issue is “dynamic and evolving quickly…We will be reviewing the matter in light of the recent developments in this hemisphere.”
What’s the Big Idea?
While pro-marijuana advocates have successfully driven legislation in two US states, and Uruguay considers making the herb an export crop, it’s still illegal in Jamaica, despite a worldwide reputation put forth by Rastafarianism, reggae, and legendary musician Bob Marley. Supporters say that since there’s already a considerable degree of tourism surrounding the herb — with people going on clandestine “ganja tours” to hidden plantations in the mountains and elsewhere — the government should take the advice of its own commission, which recommended decriminalization over a decade ago.