Mutabaruka – Cutting Edge 14/05/2015 GANJA WARNING

Irina Mossi Love Detective

Mutabaruka – Cutting Edge GANJA WARNING

Fact sheet
Prepared by the ministry of justice on the
dangerous drugs (amendment) act 2015


1. This fact sheet sets out the main changes that have been made to the
Dangerous drugs act (the “dda”). 

2. Recent amendments to the dda made by the dangerous drugs (amendment)
Act 2015 will introduce several important changes to the way the dda will
Operate in relation to ganja. 

3. When the dangerous drugs (amendment) act 2015 comes into effect, new
Provisions will be in place regarding the possession and smoking of ganja, use of
Ganja by persons of the rastafarian faith, and use of ganja for medical,
Therapeutic and scientific purposes.
4. The dangerous drugs (amendment) act 2015 came into operation on the 15th
Day of april, 2015. 

5. Some aspects of the new law will not be operational until regulations, which are
Being developed, are put in place.

Possession of ganja 

6. Possession of 2 ounces or less of ganja is no longer an offence for which one
Can be arrested, charged and have to go to court, and it will not result in a
Criminal record. 

7. However, the police may issue a ticket to a person in possession of 2 ounces or
Less of ganja1, similar to a traffic ticket, and the person has 30 days to pay the
Sum of j$500 at any tax office. 

8. A person who is found in possession of 2 ounces or less and who is under the
Age of 18 years, or who is 18 years or older and appears to the police to be
Dependent on ganja, will also be referred to the national council on drug abuse
For counselling, in addition to having to pay the ticket. 

9. It remains a criminal offence to be in possession of over 2 ounces of ganja, and
Offenders can be arrested, charged, tried in court and, if found guilty, sentenced
To a fine or to imprisonment or both. The conviction will also be recorded on that
Person’s criminal record. 

10. The rules against possession of ganja summarized at 7, 8 and 9 above do not
Apply to any of the following:
possession of ganja for religious purposes as a sacrament in adherence
To the rastafarian faith
possession of ganja for medical or therapeutic purposes as recommended
Or prescribed by a registered medical doctor or other health practitioner or
Class of practitioners approved by the minister of health
possession of ganja for purposes of scientific research that is conducted
By an accredited tertiary institution or is approved by the scientific
Research council

the ticket is called a “fixed penalty notice” in the dda.

possession of ganja pursuant to a licence, authorization or permit issued
Under the dda.
Smoking of ganja 

11. Smoking of ganja in a public place or within five metres of a public place is
Prohibited in a manner similar to cigarettes. 

12. A person who smokes in public cannot be arrested or detained. However, the
Police may issue a ticket to that person, who will have 30 days to pay $500 at
Any tax office. 

 13. For the purposes of these smoking rules, a public place includes a workplace,
And any place which is for the use of, or accessible to, the public, such as
Sidewalks, bus stops, restaurants, offices, educational institutions, pharmacies,
Hospitals, areas used by children, supermarkets and parks. 

14. Smoking of ganja at privately-occupied residences that are not used for
Commercial purposes is not an offence, but is governed by the rules on
Possession of ganja referred to above. 

15. Furthermore, smoking of ganja will be legally permitted in places that are
Licensed for the smoking of ganja for medical or therapeutic purposes. Adherents
Of the rastafarian faith will also be permitted to smoke ganja for sacramental
Purposes in locations registered as places of rastafarian worship.
Failure to pay a ticket 

16. It is an offence to fail to pay a ticket that has been issued for smoking ganja in
Public or for possession of 2 ounces or less of ganja. The offender will be
Required to attend the petty sessions court, and may be ordered to do
Community service, or in the rare case where community service cannot be
Arranged, pay a fine of $2,000. A conviction for failing to pay a ticket will also be
Recorded on the offender’s criminal record.

Importation of ganja for terminal or serious chronic illness 

17. A person who is suffering from cancer or any other terminal or serious chronic
Illness may import medicine or a therapeutic product derived from or containing
Ganja. In order to do so, a registered medical practitioner must certify that the
Person is suffering from the illness, and must recommend the person’s use of the
Medicine or therapeutic product. The importation of the medicine or therapeutic
Product must comply with regulations which are to be made. 

18. In furtherance of scientific research, an accredited tertiary institution or other
Body approved by the scientific research council may apply for authorization to
Import ganja (including any part of the plant) from any jurisdiction where the
Export of it to jamaica is lawful. The importation of ganja for research purposes
Must comply with regulations which are to be made. 

 19. An authorization to import ganja for research purposes also protects any third
Party who is engaged by the scientific institution or body for this purpose.
Cultivation of ganja by householders 

20. Each household is allowed to legally grow no more than five ganja plants on their
Premises. If there is more than one household on any premises, each household
May grow five ganja plants.
Cultivation for scientific research 

21. An accredited tertiary institution or other body approved by the scientific
Research council may apply for authorization to cultivate ganja in furtherance of
Scientific research, on lands approved for that cultivation. 

22. An authorization to cultivate ganja for research purposes also protects any third
Party who is engaged by the scientific institution or body for this purpose.

 23. Ganja which is cultivated, processed, used and otherwise handled in accordance
With this type of authorization is not subject to the rules against ganja under the
Cultivation for rastafarian sacramental purposes 

24. Persons 18 years or older who are adherents to the rastafarian faith, or
Rastafarian organizations, may apply for authorization to cultivate ganja for
Religious purposes as a sacrament in adherence to the rastafarian faith. 

25. Ganja that is cultivated under such authorization may not be smoked in public
Places other than at locations registered as places of rastafarian worship, or
Sold or otherwise dealt with commercially, or exported from jamaica, but is
Otherwise not subject to the rules against ganja under the dda.
Events to celebrate/observe the rastafarian faith 

26. Persons who are adherents of the rastafarian faith, or rastafarian organizations,
May apply for an event promoted or sponsored by them to be declared an
Exempt event. In order to apply, the event must be primarily for the purpose of
The celebration or observance of the rastafarian faith. 

27. Where an event is declared exempt, persons who attend the event will not be
Liable to be arrested, detained or prosecuted for smoking ganja or possession of
Ganja at the event, or transporting ganja to the event, as long as they have
Complied with the amounts and conditions specified in the order declaring it an
Exempt event.
Visitors to jamaica who are users of medical marijuana 

28. Persons who do not ordinarily reside in jamaica (for example, tourists or visiting
Jamaicans who live overseas) may apply for a permit to allow them to lawfully
Purchase and possess up to 2 ounces of ganja at a time, for medical or
Therapeutic purposes.

29. To obtain this permit, visitors will need to produce evidence that their use of
Ganja has been recommended or prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner in
The country where they live. Alternatively, they can sign a voluntary declaration
To confirm this. The permit is issued by jamaica’s ministry of health, and a fee is

30. Hemp is defined in the dda as a ganja plant having a thc content of less than
1%.2 hemp is used to make a wide variety of products from cloth, paper and
Rope to medicines, beverages and cosmetics. Hemp is excluded from the
Provisions in the dda that apply to ganja. However, the cultivation, processing,
Sale, import, export and other handling of hemp will be regulated by a licensing
Regime administered by the cannabis licensing authority.
The cannabis licensing authority 

31. A cannabis licensing authority is created by the dda for the purpose of
Enabling a lawful, regulated industry in ganja for medical, therapeutic or scientific
Purposes, and in hemp, to be established in jamaica. 

32. The cannabis licensing authority will be responsible for issuing licences, permits
And authorizations for the handling of hemp and ganja, and for monitoring and
Otherwise regulating persons who have been issued licences, permits and
Authorizations. It is specifically mandated to ensure that regulations do not
Contravene jamaica’s international obligations. 

33. The cannabis licensing authority is comprised of representatives from several
Ministries which are engaged with issues relating to ganja, the attorney
General’s department, the national council on drug abuse, a representative
From academia, and representatives from civil society groups and other non–
Governmental community-based and faith-based organizations.

thc (or tetrahyrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient of ganja

Use of revenues from ganja 

34. The dda provides that the minister of finance shall direct that a percentage of
The revenues earned from issuing licences, permits and authorizations relating to
Ganja and hemp be used for:
strengthening the capacity and programmes of the national council on
Drug abuse, including public education programmes to discourage the
Use of ganja by persons under 18 years, persons with a mental disorder,
Pregnant women and other vulnerable groups
strengthening jamaica’s mental health institutions and services
funding scientific and medical research into ganja and hemp
supporting the regulatory arrangements of the cannabis licensing
Increased penalties 

35. The fines in the dda have also been significantly increased for export,
Cultivation, possession, selling and trafficking of illegal drugs.


This table sets out who may apply, where to apply and the purposes for which licenses,
Permits or other authorisations may be granted under the dda.
Who may apply where to apply purpose
a duly accredited
Tertiary institution.
a body approved by
The scientific
Research council.
third parties
Engaged by these
Bodies to cultivate or
Import the ganja
Plant or any part of
The plant.
Ministry of science,
Technology, energy
And mining
cultivate ganja in
Furtherance of scientific
Research being conducted
By the institution.
import the ganja plant or
Part of the plant in
Furtherance of scientific
Research being conducted
By the institution.
a person, 18 years
Or older, who is an
Adherent to the
Rastafarian faith.
any organization that
Is comprised of
Persons who are
Adherent to the
Rastafarian faith.
Ministry of justice cultivate ganja for religious
Purposes as a sacrament in
Adherence to the
Rastafarian faith.
sponsor or promote an
Event which is primarily for
The purpose of celebration
Or observance of the
Rastafarian faith.
any person or
Organization meeting
The criteria set by the
Cannabis licensing
Cannabis licensing
use, cultivation, processing,
Importation, exportation,
Transit, manufacture, sale,
Possession and distribution
Of – (a) ganja for medical,
Therapeutic or scientific
Purposes (including
Research, clinical trials,
Therapy and treatment and
The manufacture of
Nutraceuticals and
Pharmaceuticals), and (b)

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