Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jun 2014
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2014 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,


KINGSTON, Jamaica - Opposition Spokesperson on Information Olivia 
'Babsy' Grange Thursday expressed her support for the government's 
decision to decriminalise the use of ganja in small amounts.

The decision, according to Grange is "the outcome of a journey 
undertaken by both political administrations, and a matter of social justice."

"It must be emphasized that the JLP Cabinet in 2011 approved the 
decriminalization of small amounts of ganja and the expunging of such 
criminal records , and that the relevant Ministry Paper was tabled in 
Parliament, Grange said in a release.

"We are therefore happy that the government has followed through, and 
note their intention to also recognize the protection of the 
sacrament of Rastafari.  We also fully recognize the work and 
advocacy of the late Professor Barry Chevannes and the Rastafarian 
community throughout the years, in seeking recognition and protection 
of the use of marijuana as a sacrament of Rastafari. Finally, it's a 
victory for them."

Grange also called for a well-funded education programme on the risks 
of using or abusing marijuana to be implemented.

"Furthermore, we believe that the Ministry of Health has a 
responsibility to issue guidelines and warnings for marijuana as they 
do now for tobacco smoking in public places" she said.

Grange also addressed the issue of licensing the use of ganja for 
medical research. Noting that Jamaica has already conducted research 
and produced drugs such as Canasol and Asthmasol, she said she hoped 
the new framework would be sufficiently robust and far-reaching to 
open real opportunities for treatment of epilepsy, cancer and other 
diseases currently without known cures. She said the Opposition looks 
forward to seeing the proposals.
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