According to Phillip Paulwell, leader of government business in Jamaica’s House of Representatives, legislators may decriminalize use and possession of small amounts of cannabis by the end of the year. Despite its reputation as herb-friendly, the country still has strict laws regulating the plant. “It is my view that decriminalisation of the weed will become a reality this (calendar) year, arising from the Parliamen-tary debate and the support by the majority of the members, I believe it will be approved this year,” Paulwell told the Jamaica Gleaner recently.
Paulwell provided few details about the nature of any decriminalization plan, but stressed that relaxing punishments is “is in [Jamaica’s] remit and within our sovereignty.”
Jamaican Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson, who opposes the move, says it will effect other nations’ view of the island country. “There is no consideration at this time about changing the treaties, but there are still some concerns about how some western countries would view our move towards decriminalize, de-penalize or anything like that,” he said.