decriminalization

Jamaica moves closer to ganja decrim

Posted on June 17th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

CaribbeanFollowing months of speculation, Jamaica's Justice Minister Mark Golding on June 15 announced that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and her cabinet have approved changes to the Dangerous Drugs Act, decriminalizing "small quantities of ganja for personal use." Under the amended law, possession of up to 57 grams (2 ounces) would become an infraction, resulting only in a fine. Failure to pay the fine within 30 days would be a minor offense, punishable by a court order of community service. "Too many of our young people have ended up with criminal convictions after being caught with a spliff, something that has affected their ability to do things like get jobs and get visas to travel overseas," Golding said in his statement. Hearteningly, the law would be retroative, with a measure to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of personal possession. Another proposed measure would decriminalize ganja possession for religious or therapeutic purposes—leaving unclear what the permissible quantity would be in such cases. The cabinet is expected to submit the proposed changes to parliament in the coming weeks.

Did Missouri decriminalize?

Posted on May 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

leaf Missouri has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, but became the latest state to remove criminal penalties for simple possession arrests on May 13, when a bill passed earlier this year by the legislature became law without Governor Jay Nixon’s signature. The new law, Senate Bill 491, eliminates jail time for possession of up to 10 grams on a first offense. The new law also reduces possible sentences related to sale and cultivation, lifting the current ban on probation or parole for those with third felony offenses. However, it will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, and the protections against incarceration only apply to those without prior marijuana convictions. Additionally, a possession charge will remain a criminal offense, merely reduced to a Class D misdemeanor from a Class A misdemeanor. The Marijuana Policy Project is saying the new law counts as "decriminalization," but Missouri attorney and NORML board member Dan Viets, who helped draft the bill, says, "Nobody should call this decriminalization." (CelebStoner, May 16; Daily Chronic, May 15)

Maryland passes decrim law, expands medical program

Posted on April 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

cannabisPossession of personal quantities of cannabis will no longer be a crime in Maryland under a law passed April 7 and sent to Gov. Martin O'Malley. Adults caught with less than 10 grams will get a citation and be fined, but will no longer face jail. O'Malley has pledged to sign the law—a reversal from views he held as Baltimore's tough-on-crime mayor. "As a young prosecutor, I once thought that decriminalizing the possession of marijuana might undermine the public will necessary to combat drug violence and improve public safety," O'Malley said in a statement. "I now think that decriminalizing possession of marijuana is an acknowledgment of the low priority that our courts, our prosecutors, our police, and the vast majority of citizens already attach to this transgression of public order and public health. Such an acknowledgment in law might even lead to a greater focus on far more serious threats to public safety and the lives of our citizens.”

Colombia: pressure grows to expand decrim

Posted on April 1st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColombiaAn official from the capital district government of Bogotá on March 28 called upon Colombia’s national government to open debate on broadening the policy of cannabis decriminalization.  "We really need leadership from the Congress and the government to regulate the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana," said the general secretary of the Bogotá mayor's office, Susana Muhamad. Despite efforts by the previous government of President Alvaro Uribe to roll back the policy, since 1994 cannabis has been decriminalized in small quantitites—recently established by the judiciary as up to 22 grams. However, sale and cultivation remain illegal in Colombia. Muhamad appealed to current President Manuel Santos to examine lifting these limitations.

Jamaica to decriminalize ganja 'this year'?

Posted on March 8th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanThere has been mounting speculation in recent months that Jamaica is really about to finally decriminalize ganja (as it is ubiquitously called there, even in official circles). But now there has been something approaching official confirmation. A March 6 report on MercoPress news service cites a statement from Dealana Seiveright, leader of the Caribbean nation's Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce (CCMRT), in turn quoting a statement from Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Minister Phillip Paulwell, who assured that "ganja will be decriminalized in Jamaica this year and emphasized that Jamaica cannot be allowed to be left behind on the issue."  Seiveright added: "He also reiterated the multiple economic, social and cultural benefits that Jamaica stands to gain if the laws are adjusted sooner rather than later."

Cannabis decrim bills introduced in Mexico

Posted on February 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

MexicoLawmakers from Mexico's left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) introduced legislation last week to decriminalize cannabis in an effort to curb cartel violence. One bill, introduced in the federal Congress, builds on the partial decrim passed in 2009, increasing "personal use" quantities from five to 30 grams. It also includes provisions allowing for use of medical marijuana. Another bill in the Federal District's Legislative Assembly would instruct police and judges in Mexico City to deprioritize prosecution of cannabis violations. It would also create "tolerance zones," where cannabis could be sold openly, and "dissuasion commissions" to which violators could be assigned in lieu of criminal charges.

Southern Cone neighbors react to Uruguay legalization

Posted on December 30th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Southern ConePresident José Mujica signed Uruguay's cannabis legalization bill into law on Christmas Eve, and the country's neighbors are preparing for the new policy to take effect—apparently with more trepidation than hope. Mujica is said to have discussed the question with Brazil's center-left President Dilma Rousseff on his visit last month to Brasília. Local media reported that she expressed fears about Uruguayan herb entering Brazil, and announced plans to beef up searches at the border—with plans to impose stiff sentences of 10 years and up for trafficking (including "transnational" personal possession).

Jamaica: cabinet prepares legalization initiative

Posted on October 25th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaribbeanJamaica's Justice Minister Mark Golding says his office is preparing an initiative to legalize cannabis in the island nation—pointing to the successful state initiatives in the US, traditionally the chief opponent of such efforts by Caribbean countries. "The Ministry of Justice is far advanced in developing a Cabinet submission with a view to reforming the laws relating to ganja," Golding told Jamaica's The Gleaner Oct. 7. "We have been working on that for some time now, and it's at an advanced stage, so Cabinet will get the opportunity to consider our recommendation and we will see whether the Cabinet is minded to move forward in the way that we have proposed."

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