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JAMAICA | Renegotiate international treaties to facilitate legal ganja business says Golding

Featured Opposition Spokesman on Finance, and former justice minister, Mark Golding (file) Opposition Spokesman on Finance, and former justice minister, Mark Golding (file)
KINGSTON, November 2, 2018 - Opposition Spokesman in Finance, former Justice mininister Mark Golding is suggesting that Jamaica may have to opt out of several of its international treaties  and align itself with countries that are more like-minded in oder to  change regulations to facilitate the legal ganja/marijuana business.

Responding to questions regarding country's delay in fully maximising the emerging ganja industry, at the RJRGLEANER Town Hall Meeting on ganja on Thursday, Mr. Golding noted that the Jamaican government should carefully assess the potential impact of renewing international treaties to allow for the legalisation of ganja.

Pointing out that there are provisions to support such a move, Mr. Golding said "You give a notice that you are withdrawing and you subsequently apply to re-accede, rejoin it. But when you rejoin, you rejoin making a reservation which excludes the application of the treaty to you in relation to the matter that you have reserved; and I am suggesting that we reserve in relation to cannabis, so that it will allow us to develop our own domestic policy as we see fit, without being in breach of the treaty."

Golding, who was justice minister at the time Jamaica decriminalised two ounces of marijuana in 2013, reasoned that with Canada making major changes to allow recreational use, Jamaica could seek to free its hands of some of its obligations.

"If we want to fully legalise, we would have to withdraw from the treaty - and that's an option. The Vienna Law of Treaties provides, for example, where groups of countries that are like-minded create their own treaties around the subject. I think we should be exploring, talking to Canada, to Uruguay, and other states that may have a more liberal regime than what this 1961 convention allows," Golding stated.

He said this move would require support from the international community especially in the re-acceding process, but its possible.

The former Justice Minister pointed out Jamaica did not suffer any negative repercussions internationally after it decriminalised ganja in 2015 as the government was careful in the design of the reforms to be compliant with treaties.

Chairman of the CLA Hyacinth Lightbourne  in responding  to questions regarding its purpose in the industry, said  international obligations mandate that a specific body be established to monitor entities dealing in the weed.

She also noted that "the 1961 Narcotics Convention, to which Jamaica is a signatory, requires that there is a single authority designated for the administration".

Lightbourne said that the treaty makes it clear that the signatories can only deal in ganja in a "medical, scientific, and therapeutic manner".

"So that is an issue for lawmakers. But what they have done is look to the treaty, to which we are currently a signatory, and sought to use as much as we possibly could in order to get us on the ganja train," the CLA chairman pointed out.

Many of the stakeholders who participated in the forum, hosted at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium at Jamaica College in St Andrew, expressed their frustration that seemingly the 'ganja train' was about to leave Jamaica behind, as the government has not been creative and forceful enough in cashing in on the potential multibillion-dollar cannabis industry. 

Last modified onSunday, 04 November 2018 20:43
  • Countries: Jamaica

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