The Caribbean: Jamaica Lawmakers Calls for Ganja Decriminalization

A highly placed Jamaican lawmaker called over the weekend for the decriminalization of marijuana possession. Sen. Dennis Meadows, deputy secretary general for the governing Jamaica Labor Party, made the call before parliament Friday and elaborated on it Saturday.
Dennis Meadows
On Friday, Meadows told the Jamaican Senate that arresting and convicting people for possession of small amounts of marijuana "is only serving to criminalize our already marginalized young men and women, thereby creating a reservoir of hopelessness."

Prosecuting people for possessing a spliff is also a waste of valuable law enforcement resources, he said. "Decriminalization, among other things, will serve to free up the police resources and the already stressed justice system to focus on more serious crimes," Meadows insisted.

Meadows cited the 2001 National Commission on Ganja report, which also called for decriminalization. Although that report was presented to parliament and then Prime Minister PJ Patterson, movement toward decrim withered under loud US protests. Debate on the report should be reopened, Meadows told his colleagues.

On Saturday, Meadows issued a statement reiterating his stance. "What I am advocating is that ganja, at the level of spliffs for private use, be treated similarly to a traffic ticket," Meadows said.

That would be a good start for one of the most marijuana-friendly cultures on the planet. Let's see if the rest of Jamaica's political class is listening.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Chillum, not spliff

Please, Dennis, don't build your case on hot-burning overdose $pliffs. Depending on how fat it is rolled, temperatures can rise to 1500 F (860 C), cremating unvaporized THC and causing smoking-related health damage blamed on the ganja.

Promote the long-stemmed single-toke chillum (or "chalice") with a screened crater-diameter of 6-mm. or less and at least 50-cm. (20") of flexible drawtube so vapors cool off before reaching the trachea. Jamaica can build a handwork export business shipping BILLIONS of equipment-reform utensils around the world to vanquish the nicotine genocide $igarette.


The spliff is a grand tradition and will never die, but the Rasta-inspired chalice is an upgrade in tempering the temperature of the smoke, and is quite appropriate in the home setting. The deputy is spot-on regarding the larger issue, which is decriminalization. How long must the people endure this oppression?

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