The birthplace of the Reggae style of music, Jamaica is well known for its cannabis-friendly culture and music. Jamaica made medical marijuana legal in 2015 and decriminalized recreational cannabis to a reasonable extent. But, again, there is confusion about is weed legal in jamaica?
We are throwing lights on the Jamaican cannabis laws, what is legal or illegal, and everything that strikes your mind. So, read on!
Cannabis in Jamaica: The laws, Medical marijuana, cultivation status
In general, people believe that marijuana is legal in Jamaica. But, the reality is different. Marijuana use is not legal completely here in jamaica. Medical cannabis or cultivation freedom resulted from the cannabis laws amendments in 2015. Before these amendments, it was a criminal offence.
Medical Marijuana: Legal
Recreational cannabis: Fairly legal, but restrictions are there.
Cultivation: Legal: up to five plants
It is legal to buy cannabis seeds as well. Then what’s illegal?
Let’s see how it all got started.
History of cannabis in Jamaica
Interestingly, there was no marijuana till the mid-1800 in Jamaica, when people from many other countries started cannabis use.
Cannabis is famous for the name Ganja in Jamaica. It is brought during the British rule over India and Jamaica. Indentured labour culture was there, and due to this, many Indian labourers were sent to Jamaica for labour. These Indians brought cannabis seeds and ‘Ganja’ to Jamaica. And Jamaicans adapted cannabis with its Indian term ganja.
Until now, ‘Ganja’ is the most popular among Jamaicans.
No need to mention that pot has become a regular part of Jamaica’s culture and day-to-day life. People were smoking weed regularly and developed as well, with many individuals managing pot seeds also.
Interestingly, this tolerant and open weed culture was dynamic until 1913. But after this Jamaican government passed the ‘Dangerous Drug Laws‘ to boycott opium. To support their drive against opium, they made cannabis in jamaica illegal to use. The underlying penalties and punishments of this regulation were amazingly extreme.
However, the law did not work as people started trading marijuana under the table or unlawfully. Cops and politicians started defending the growers to make money. However, the laws stay severe for the regular private residents and people.
Cannabis laws and amendments in Jamaica:
Regulations were getting stricter by the time due to the Ganja law, and so was the corruption in Jamaica.
Later the Jamaican ministry took a favourable step in legalizing cannabis after 112 years of the Ganja law and showed flexibility.
As of now:
- Possession small amounts like 2 ounces or 57 gms of weed is no longer a criminal offence.
- Marijuana use for medicinal purposes is entirely legal.
- Even tourists who have prescriptions from other countries can buy and use small amounts of cannabis.
- Growing up to 5 plants for personal use is entirely legal.
- The Rastafari faith’s followers use marijuana for their religious purposes. The cannabis law allows them to use weed for their sacramental purposes.
It is illegal to smoke marijuana in public. You may be fined 500 Jamaican dollars. However, the amendments made flexible clauses for smoking marijuana in licensed dispensary rooms and private residences.
Legal smoking weed is not a difficult thing to do in Jamaica. As Miami Herald once stated, “permission to legally smoke takes all but five minutes. No local address is needed. No medical record requested — not even a physical exam is required.”
Medical Marijuana in Jamaica:
Medical marijuana is entirely legal in Jamaica under the recommendation and guidance of doctors. If you are above the age of 18 years, just any ID like a driving license or passport can help you get a medical marijuana card.
You can get the medical marijuana card:
- If you are above 18 years.
- Even if you have a prescription or medical marijuana recommendation from doctors from overseas.
- If you have a prescription from the local doctor affiliated with the Jamaican ministry of health.
- Also, you can have the on-site prescription by the doctors in the weed dispensaries.
- Even if you fill out the self-diagnostic medical form, you may get a medical card in some dispensaries.
- Here are the premium licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Jamaica from where many tourists purchase cannabis in Jamaica. Island strains – Montego bay, Epican Jamaica – Kingston, Kaya herb house– Drax Hall in St Anne’s bay and Falmouth
You can quickly get a medical marijuana card from the doctors with a small fine. the following are the qualifying conditions that would fetch a green signal for the medical marijuana card:
What is illegal in Jamaica?
Cannabis is decriminalized in Jamaica for medical and personal use. But, it is still illegal, and you would have to face severe circumstances to defy the laws.
However, for possession of more than 2 ounces, there will be no criminal record or even police will not arrest you. Just some simple time, and it’s over!
The Jamaican government is strict about the growing and trafficking of weed. Growing cannabis with more than 5 plants is a serious issue. And drug trafficking may get you jail time if you indulge in drug trafficking.
Cultivating plants more than the limit can cause you trouble.
Do not carry weed along with you if you are leaving the country. It is a severe offence.
So staying within your limits would keep you out of trouble.
It was planted on the Mona campus of the University of West Indies in 2015.
Hipster boutiques, Equal parts doctor’s clinic, and Amsterdam-style coffee shops, are the only places for tourists to buy weed.
In the 1930’s Leonard P. Howell founded a religion called Rastafarians. In their religion, weed is taken as a “holy herb.”
The CLA Cannabis Licensing Authority provides licenses to the dispensaries. It takes care of the regulations and implementation of the cannabis laws.
There are some criteria to be followed ahead of getting a ganja license. First, kindly check your eligibility to get the license here.
Edibles, vape cartridges, tinctures, and extracts are Jamaica’s most common and loved forms of cannabis.
Kaya herb house is perfect. They have rooms, smoking rooms, spas, other facilities, and even doctors to get the medical marijuana card.
Yes, but you have to qualify their eligibility criteria for individuals and provide the relevant fee.
Cultivator license gets renewal every year during the general one for the 3 years. You need to pay annual fees also.
Final words on Is weed legal in Jamaica?
So far, we have seen that Jamaica has become a weed-friendly country. Though still, complete legalization is too far.
You can quickly get medical marijuana in Jamaica but purchase it from licensed dispensaries only. Do not buy from the outside. Else strength may vary, and you may not find relief from your health ailments.
Always take care of the limits while planting weeds. Else you will come to the radar of the police and may cause trouble.
For tourists and residents, Jamaica is heaven to smoke weed. Still, Jamaica has a long way to go for the legalization of marijuana.
Accessing cannabis is no more an issue in Jamaica, but staying by the rules does.