Jamaica Marijuana Information
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When we think of Jamaica, ‘ganja’ is typically one of the fastest associations we make with the country. Thanks to the Rastafarian community, which was popularized by Bob Marley and reggae music, marijuana use has become a symbol of the country. Rastafarians use marijuana as a spiritual drug, and the smoking of marijuana is a part of their religious ceremonies. However, despite marijuana’s ubiquity in the country’s perception, marijuana is not fully legal in Jamaica and until recently, it was not decriminalized.
In mid-2015, the country passed a drug law amendment that decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Under the new law, possession of up to 2 ounces (or 56 grams) of marijuana is a petty offence punishable by a maximum fine of about $5. The law also allows the cultivation of up to five marijuana plants per household. Rastafari adults are also now permitted to use marijuana for sacramental purposes for the first time. Jamaica is the first country to specify that marijuana use related to religion is legal. These law changes are hopefully the first steps to full marijuana legalization in Jamaica.
One of the biggest changes in the law is that medical marijuana is now legal, and Jamaica hopes to establish a presence in the globally emerging medical marijuana market. Under the act, possession of marijuana for medical or therapeutic purposes is allowed. “Therapeutic” is a flexible term that many Jamaicans hope will allow tourists to partake in cannabis consumption. A cannabis licensing authority will regulate the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.
Many Jamaicans are excited about the prospect of pot tourism. Under the law, visitors who are ill or have a medical marijuana prescription from their home country will be able to purchase a permit at the airport for a few dollars that will allow them to consume marijuana. Patients who have a medical marijuana prescription will have to show a prescription from their doctor. Another popular tourism activity in Jamaica is taking a tour of an outdoor marijuana farm. This activity comes highly recommended and many companies can coordinate these tours for you – you’ve never seen anything like it!
Make sure to smoke all your herb or gift it to a fellow tourist before you leave the country – it is still illegal and considered drug trafficking to leave the country with marijuana.
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Jamaica Marijuana FAQ
Is Marijuana legal in Jamaica?
Medical marijuana is legal in Jamaica. Although recreational marijuana use is not explicitly legal, it has been decriminalized and possession of up to 2 ounces or 56 grams of marijuana is punishable by a maximum fine of $5. It is also legal to grow up to five marijuana plants.
Marijuana use is also legal for practicing Rastafari adults to use for sacramental purposes. Rastafarians are permitted to grow and transport their marijuana with no limits, but they are forbidden from selling it and must only consume in their place of worship.
Where can I get marijuana?
For residents of Jamaica, you are permitted to grow up to five of your own plants. For visitors to Jamaica, if you are ill or have a medical marijuana prescription from your home country, you may purchase a permit that will allow you to buy marijuana from special medical marijuana shops or directly from cultivators. As of March 2016, Jamaica has not opened any medical marijuana shops.
For tourists looking to buy marijuana, it is exceedingly easy to find and you can likely ask any cab driver or hotel worker for a hook up with no problem. The new law means tourists don’t have to worry about more than a $5 possession fine if caught.
Do I need to have a medical marijuana prescription from my home country to purchase a permit?
No, you don’t have to. Visitors arriving in Jamaica who want to purchase a permit will just have to swear that they are ill or using the marijuana for therapeutic purposes. “Therapeutic purposes” is written into the law as a permissible reason for using cannabis, and because it is very vaguely defined, most visitors will be allowed to buy a permit with that reason.
How much marijuana can I have?
You may possess up to two ounces (or 56 grams) of marijuana and cultivate up to five marijuana plants.
What kinds of marijuana will be available?
Pretty much all of the marijuana that you’ll find in Jamaica is grown outdoors. You will find Sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains of marijuana. Sativa strains of marijuana are a more energizing head high, whereas an Indica strain will give you a stronger body high and can induce “couch-lock.”
How much will it cost?
Typically, you can get an ounce of marijuana for $100 or less in Jamaica. Prices may vary when the medical marijuana stores open.
Where can I consume marijuana in Jamaica?
Under the law, marijuana must be consumed on private property. You likely won’t get in trouble for smoking in public, but use discretion.
Can I bring marijuana purchased in Jamaica to another country?
No! All marijuana and marijuana products purchased in Jamaica must be consumed in Jamaica. Jamaica has very strict drug trafficking laws and they are strict about them. If you have marijuana left over after your visit, donate or sell it to another grateful tourist.
Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. Please respect the current state of Marijuana law in your area.
Weed in Jamaica is common, but there are a couple things you need to know about Jamaican marijuana laws as a tourist. Click here for everything you need to know
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Is marijuana legal in Jamaica?
With a largely cannabis-positive culture and recognition as the birthplace of reggae, many are surprised to find Jamaica’s cannabis laws aren’t as in-line with the lifestyles of this Caribbean country’s residents as they might think.
It wasn’t until 2015 that Jamaica even decriminalized marijuana, reducing penalties for possession of small amounts to a petty offense. Residents could then grow up to five plants without being penalized. Now there is access to legal medical cannabis, though getting the ball rolling for a thriving cannabis economy has proved difficult.
Medical cannabis was legalized as part of an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act, a slow start to regulating cannabis in a country where it’s already widely prevalent. Today, they’re still trying to figure out exactly what regulated cannabis in Jamaica looks like.
The Cannabis Licensing Authority has been working under the Jamaican Ministry of Health to establish concrete guidelines for cannabis in Jamaica. Under the Dangerous Drugs Act amendment, residents can “handle ganja for medical, scientific and therapeutic purposes.”
Can Tourists Legally Obtain Cannabis?
So you’re visiting Jamaica and you’re going to get your hands on some weed one way or another, we get it. If you somehow find yourself with under two ounces (hey, I’m not gonna ask where it came from), you’re not going to get locked up. You may get a small fine amounting to about five U.S. dollars.
Maybe you don’t want to buy cannabis the old school way, though. What’s a visitor to do?
If you’re already a medical marijuana patient in a different jurisdiction, you can use your card to legally purchase cannabis in Jamaica. If you’re not already a medical marijuana patient, you can go to Kaya Herb House or the like and obtain a doctor’s recommendation. It’s easy, cheap, and doesn’t require more than a mild ailment.
Medical Marijuana in Jamaica
Medical marijuana is legal to use in Jamaica under the guidance of a physician. Users will need a permit issued from a registered physician certified in the use of medical cannabis and must be above the age of 18.
In an island country where weed is already pretty accessible and decriminalized in small amounts, the idea of finding a registered physician to recommend cannabis is abhorrent at a glance. But just wait.
Let’s start by looking at Island Strains, the first medical herb house to open in Montego Bay. This licensed shop boasts easy access to cannabis for a number of conditions from chronic pain to depression, insomnia, and lack of appetite among others. They’ve got a smoking room, a room to consult with a physician to obtain a medical card, and even a seaside deck and bar. It’s that fun.
People can come to Island Strains, consult with a physician to get a permit, purchase cannabis, and hang out in the smoking-room doing whatever it is people do in them. And it costs about 10 US dollars to consult with a physician, making it ridiculously easy to get your hands on a permit.
The Miami Herald says, “permission to legally smoke takes all but five minutes. No local address needed. No medical record requested— not even a physical exam is required.”
So if you’re looking to legally obtain some cannabis in Jamaica, you can visit the herb house to see what the doctor has to say. You’ve got a pretty good chance of finding out that cannabis may help your qualms.
Kaya Herb House, the first medical dispensary in Jamaica, paved the way for shops like Island Strains. They have a cafe, spa, smoking room, and, of course, qualified doctors ready to give out recommendations for medical cannabis.
Setbacks in Jamaican Cannabis Policies
While cannabis use is and has been widely prominent in the island nation, Jamaica risks falling far behind other countries with regulated medical and recreational cannabis for several reasons.
They’ve faced difficulties with the U.S. banks they rely on to convert their U.S. dollar transactions because the U.S. banks argue that “given the Caribbean’s small size and the hefty fines now being imposed by regulators trying to stem terrorism financing and money laundering, the risks of clearing checks or transferring money as intermediaries just isn’t worth it.”
These banking regulations have inhibited their ability to accept license applications, the crucial first step in joining the legal industry. Delano Seiveright, director of the Cannabis Licensing Authority said, “of the 600 requests for cannabis licenses, the licensing authority has awarded less than 40 and given conditional approval to another 200.”
Until the banking situation is figured out, prospects for recreational cannabis in Jamaica are not great. They’ll need to get their medical cannabis figured out before implementing recreational.
Regardless, if you’re caught with under two ounces, it’s a petty fine that won’t impede your chances of future employment, housing, and basically every aspect of life that a criminal record can affect.
The Bottom Line
As of 2015, cannabis is decriminalized in Jamaica for adults over 18 possessing under two ounces. Marijuana for medical, scientific, and therapeutic purposes is legal as well.
Adults can go to medical dispensaries offering a number of commodities, including smoking rooms, spas, and most conveniently, doctors willing and ready to give out a medical marijuana recommendation. For a small price, residents and tourists alike can receive a medical marijuana recommendation and legally purchase cannabis in Jamaica.
The nation still has a long way to go until they’ve really figured out their legal cannabis situation. They’re paving different paths than other places with legal cannabis, and they’re also faced with obstacles beyond their control, like U.S. banks not wanting to get involved for fear of criminal activity.
For now, getting access to cannabis in Jamaica is not tough. Effectively regulating their market is a totally different story, though.
With a largely cannabis-positive culture and recognition as the birthplace of reggae, many are surprised to find Jamaica’s cannabis laws aren’t as in-line with the lifestyles of this Caribbean country’s residents as they might think. It wasn’t until 2015 that Jamaica even decriminalized marijuana, reducing penalties for possession of small amounts to a petty offense. Residents