My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Minister of Justice Mark Golding Marijuana Decriminalization by September 2014 – Ras Puddler’s Cultivation not possible as Ganja High upgraded to Ganja University

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Minister of Justice Mark Golding Marijuana Decriminalization by September 2014 – Ras Puddler’s Cultivation not possible as Ganja High upgraded to Ganja University

“Cabinet has approved certain changes to the law relating to ganja. These relate to the possession of small quantities of ganja for personal use, the smoking of ganja in private places and the use of ganja for medical/medicinal purposes”

Minister of Justice Mark Golding during an announcement in a Press Conference held at Jamaica House on Friday June 13th 2014 related to the decriminalization of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa)

Friday June 13th 2014 is the date when everything changed relating to Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) Decriminalization as predicted in my blog article entitled “Ras Puddler says Legalization of Marijuana benefits large Scale Growers - How Teenagers can Learn to Extract THC for personal Use to make Chocolate Cookie, Brownies and Sorrell Cake for Christmas”.

On that date, Minister of Justice Mark Golding had announced in a Press Conference held at Jamaica House changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act relating to the possession of small amounts of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) as stated in “Ganja green light - Gov't moves to change laws to allow limited use of marijuana”, Published Friday June 13, 2014, by Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

The Bill is currently before Cabinet ready for Debate before Parliament goes off for Summer Break and is expected to become an Act ready for the Upper House to vote on come September 2014.

These changes will effectively decriminalize possession of approximately 2 oz of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa), reducing it to a ticketable offence. The Fine is alledged to be about JA$1000 when caught by the Jamaican Constabulary Force aka the Jamaican Police and is payable outside of the Court system within a thirty (30) day timeframe.

Minister of Justice Mark Golding is pretty clear on the consequences of non-payment, quote: “Failure to pay the ticket within a specified time [30 days] will be a minor offence punishable in the Petty Sessions Court by an order for community service”. Addicts to Marijuana, most likely below the age of 18 years old, if ticketed on multiple occasions, will be referred to the National Council for Drug Abuse for Counseling on Substance Abuse…..and some munchies!

This also extended not only to possession, but smoking of ganja, which is usually a 2 oz affair. Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) smoking using pipes is also being decriminalized and the smoking of Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) for religious and therapeutic purposes is also being allowed under these new amendments, apparently influenced by our recent adoption of the UNCHR (United Nations Charter of Human Rights).

Again a decent quote from Minister of Justice Mark Golding Press Conference, quote: “We consider that Jamaica's Parliament, as the promulgator of the Charter of Rights, is in a position to express its conviction that religious use of ganja ought not to be criminalised, given Jamaica's history and prevailing socio-cultural environment”.

Marijuana Decriminalization – Records cleared but Ras Puddler’s Cultivation not yet possible

But most importantly and of greatest interest to many Jamaicans already possessing Criminal Records, they can have their Criminal Records related to smoking Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa) cleared or expunged, no matter how long ago the offence.

This is truly a landmark ruling as it effectively means that many Jamaicans who were unable to obtain work or Travel abroad on Work Visas due to their Criminal Records as pointed out by General Secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, Karl Johnson as stated in the article “‘Too many people’s future blighted for a little ganja’ –Church leader”, published Friday, June 13, 2014 2:24 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

After all, how strange it looks to before this amendment to be caught smoking Marijuana (Cannabis Sativa), arrested, charged and ends up having a Criminal record even as Cigarette Smoking was and is still legal. The only difference is that now with the Ban on Cigarette Smoking since Tuesday June 25th 2013 as chronicled in my blog article entitled “Adventists want Ban on Vehicle Pollution as Smoking Ban looms on Saturday July 15 2013 - Dr. Fenton Ferguson's Escape Plan leads”, Cigarettes also attract a heavy Criminal Fine for lighting up in Public places.

Minister of Justice Mark Golding addressed this disparity by laying down the Law, resulting in equal parity in the Eyes of the Justice, quote: “Smoking of ganja should be absorbed into the general non-smoking regime, with the same penalty structure, except that the smoking of ganja will be permitted in private places”.

However, this amendment of the Dangerous Drugs Act and the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act doesn’t address Ras Puddler’s main concerns: Cultivation. This was pointed out by Dr. Henry Lowe mere hours after the Press Conference as recorded by The Jamaica Gleaner in the article “Gov't should reconsider ganja cultivation laws - Dr Lowe”, published Friday June 13, 2014 12:11 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Like Ras Puddler, his interest in the growing and cultivation relates to financial benefits from its medicinal properties. Particularly Dr. Lowe is interested in cultivation to provide a steady supply of the plant for Pharmaceutical extracts to support his fledgling Medical Research company, MediCanja, which is still awaiting such amendments as I’d predicted in my blog article entitled “Dr.Henry Lowe launches Medicanja and jump-starts Pharmaceutical Industry in our Back yard”.

Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson – Most High Graduates to Ganja University

It’ll be interesting to see if Minister of Health Dr. Fenton Ferguson will weigh during the Parliamentary debates on the Bill to insist that Marijuana Cultivation be allowed being as he’s such an ardent supports of our Pharmaceutical Industry as stated in my blog article entitled “Dr. Fenton Ferguson want Marijuana Medicine – Pharmaceutical Marijuana means big Profits and Taxes for the GOJ”.

I’m especially hoping for provisions to be implemented to allow for the cultivation of Hemp, which can be used in the making of many non-pharmaceutical products from Oils and ointments to clothing.

Summer of 2014 is not only heralds the coming removal of the CET (Common External Tariff) and thus great summer deals on Phablets, smartphones and possibly Tablets as stated in my blog article entitled “Council of Trade and Economic Development allows GOJ to remove CET on smartphones - How CET removal from Phablets is the Perfect Storm for CET-Free Tablets by Emancipation Day”.

It may also be the Summer when many Jamaicans will Graduate from Ganja High and get their Diplomas to attend Ganja University!

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