My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 now an actionable Law - How Marijuana being Decriminalized only benefits Politicians

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 now an actionable Law - How Marijuana being Decriminalized only benefits Politicians

“I don't know if they smoked at school or before school, but they presented at school with symptoms that required that action on his part”

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites commenting to the Jamaica Gleaner on reports of two (2) High School boys showing signs of psychosis presumed to be associated with Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)

It's been quite a long road since Friday February 6th 2015.

The Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 is now an officially enforceable law as of Wednesday, April 15th 2015 as reported in the article “Ganja Amendment Law Comes Into Effect Today”, Published Wednesday April 15, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner and “'Ganja law' to take effect today”, published Wednesday, April 15, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.



There was a bit of excitement the day before, Tuesday April 14th 2015 when it was announced that Minister of Justice Mark Golding was to breathe life into the Gazette Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 by a notice published in the gazette as noted in the article “No Arrest For Two Ounces Of Ganja - Starting Tomorrow”, Published Tuesday April 14, 2015, by Edmond Campbell, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Ganja law gazetted!”, published Monday, April 13, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

It's gotten wide support on both side of the House and the G2k, the youth arm of the Jamaica Labour Party seem to be thrilled at its passing as noted in the article “G2K hails new ganja law as 'progressive'”, published Wednesday, April 15, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

So here’s quick recap of what went down.

Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 now an actionable Law - How we end up at this point with Marijuana being Decriminalized

The Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, eventually gave his assent to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 as noted in the article “GG gives assent, 'Ganja law' now in effect”, published Tuesday, March 31, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.


On that day, the Senate (Upper House) passed the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 even as Jamaica is still seen as a trans-shipment hub for Cocaine and Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as reported in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Senate passes Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act 2015 - How Jamaica Plans to Export while being a Trans-Shipment point for Cocaine and Illegal Marijuana”.

The House of Representatives (Lower House) soon after gave it their stamp of approval, passing it on Tuesday February 24th 2015 as noted in the article “Ganja law gets green light”, published Tuesday, February 24, 2015, The Jamaica Observer and “Ganja Law Passed By The House Of Representatives”, published Wednesday February 25, 2015 The Jamaica Gleaner.

Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 now an actionable Law - Road to Damascus paved with Good Intentions

Simply put, this means that possession of 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) is a ticketable offence. If you are caught in possession of 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) by the Jamaican Police, you can be fined JA$500 payable within a 30-day period at a revenue centre.

The incident is not recorded on to your criminal record and persons who had previously been given a criminal record for possession of 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) can seek to have their records expunged.



Smoking ganja in public or possessing 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) and then failing to pay the JA$500 fine will result in them having to attend a  Petty Sessions Court and possible be ordered to do community service or pay a fine of JA$2,000.

Good to note here that possession of more than 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) is STILL a criminal offence and offenders can be arrested and charged for breaches of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015. If found guilty, they are subject to the full sentences, which includes hefty fines, imprisonment or both and yes, it goes on your criminal record. 

This also means that the internal policies of some companies as it relates to Drugs testing for the purposes of employment will have to be adjusted according to the President of the PSOJ (Private Sector Organization of Jamaica) William Mahfood in the article “With Amended Ganja Law Companies Drug Testing Policies Will Need Re-Examining - PSOJ”, published Friday April 17, 2015, The Jamaica Gleaner

Technically, as it stands, the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 means you can be high on 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa), not have a criminal record and STILL get a job, albeit smoking in public still carries a hefty fine as noted in my blog article entitled “Adventists want Ban on Vehicle Pollution as Smoking Ban looms on Monday July 15th 2013 - Dr. Fenton Ferguson's Escape Plan leads to All-Electric Vehicles, Bio-Fuel and Citronella Candles”.

Offenders below the age of 18 year caught smoking ganja in public or possessing 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) may be judged by the Jamaican Police to be dependent on Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) and will be referred to the National Council on Drug Abuse for Counseling.

Already two (2) boys were taken to the hospital on Wednesday, April 15th 2015 after apparently smoking some 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) and showing signs of psychosis as noted in the article “Students Taken To Hospital With Symptoms Of Psychosis After Allegedly Smoking Ganja On 'Decriminalisation Day'”, Published Thursday April 16, 2015 by Daraine Luton, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has already commented on this developement in Parliament, quote: “I got reports from two principals today of students feeling that ganja is now free and that they can now smoke it, and in one case, he [a principal] had to take more than one student to a nearby hospital for symptoms of psychosis”.

Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 also means the decriminalizing Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) and Hemp for medicinal, religious, scientific and therapeutic purposes. This means that Rastafarian can smoke Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) at Rastafarian places of Worship, once they're registered with the Government of Jamaica of course. Otherwise, it's a ticketable offence.

There will also be a Licensing authority called the Cannabis Licensing Authority chaired by Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Philip Paulwell that will deal with the issuing of licenses to growers of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) for these purposes.



This means that potentially, Small Farmers can get into the act of growing Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa), which can be seen as a good or bad thing, depending on how you look at it as noted in the article “Small farmers to be included in medical marijuana industry – Justice Minister” published Saturday, April 18, 2015, The Jamaica Observer.

But is that really the case?

Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015 fines in police Pockets – Why only the Politicians may benefit

Not sure if the Jamaican police will be issued with mini scales or even portable IR Spectrophotometer such as the US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer as explained in my blog article entitled “Consumer Physics US$199 SCiO Portable IR Spectrometer – Star Trek Tricorder that can scan the Molecular World” to determine the chemical composition of the substance the person had in their possession.

Also, Minister Phillip Paulwell has granted Research licenses to the University of the West Indies and the University of Technology to do research into the medicinal properties of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as noted in the article “Paulwell To Issue Ganja Research Licences To UWI & UTech”, published Wednesday April 15, 2015 by Daraine Luton, The Jamaica Gleaner.

UTECH clearly had this planned from a long time, as they'd already partnered with an California based company, Steep Hill Labs, to do research into the medicinal properties of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)  as reported in the article “UTECH and American Lab Partner on Medical Marijuana Research”, published November 15, 2014 by Athaliah Baker, The Jamaica Information Service.

Whether this means that they can also grow their own Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) or accept from any small farmers isn't quite clear.



It can be assumed that ALL players would have to be licensed, both farmers as well as Researchers and producers of pharmaceutical products, such as Dr. Henry Lowe Medicanja's as detailed in my blog article entitled “Dr. Henry Lowe Medicanja's parent BTRDI launching IPO in 2015 - Why P.J. Patterson “fly the gate” for Hemp and Marijuana products to cure 84 ailments”.

If so, then the Marley Natural line of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) products, which is a partnership between the family of the late Bob Marley and Privateer Holdings can source their Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) from the local licensed growers of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) in Jamaica as I'd predicted in my blog article entitled “Marley Natural and Privateer Holdings – How the Marley Family will benefit from Amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act 2015”.

Finally, there is still no word on Hemp, the male plant that doesn’t contain the psychoactive ingredient THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol), as its not clear if that has been decriminalized.

The focus seems to be on the female plant, Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa), more famous because of its known psychoactive ingredient THC (Tetra Hydro Cannabinol). Hemp has more practical uses, such as making clothing, soaps and even motor vehicle fuel.

So should I expect more stories of children caught smoking Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)? More Private Sector companies and even politicians applying for licenses to grow Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)?

It’s anyone’s guess as to what will happen next and the Jamaican Politicians set themselves up to make money as our other Industries die a slow death.




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