The much anticipated amendment to the ‘Ganja Law’ is expected to take effect today.
The ‘Ganja Law’ or ‘Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015’ was passed by both Houses of Parliament in February this year.
The Ministry of Justice on Monday announced that Justice Minister Mark Golding is to bring the Act into operation by a notice published in the Gazette.
The changes to the Act will make possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a non-arrestable, ticketable offence, that attracts no criminal record.
Where the person found in possession of a small quantity of ganja is a minor, or an adult who appears to be dependent on the substance, they are to be referred to the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) by the police officer issuing the ticket.
Additionally, the Bill prohibits the smoking of ganja in public places, and makes provisions for the granting of licences, permits and other authorisations to enable the establishment of a regulated industry for ganja for medical, scientific, and therapeutic uses.
It also provides for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority, which will be responsible for developing the regulations governing the medical marijuana industry.
According to a release from the Justice Ministry on Monday, the law is expected to among other things reduce the number of cases before Resident Magistrate’s Courts and acknowledge the constitutional rights of the Rastafari community which uses ganja as a sacrament.
It is also expected to facilitate the creation of a regulated legitimate medicinal and industrial marijuana industry.