Jamaica decriminalized small amounts of marijuana on Tuesday and created a way to regulate the drug for medical and scientific purposes.
Ganja has long been ubiquitous on the Caribbean island, as both Jamaicans and tourists can attest. But cannabis possession could result in jail time under the old rules. Now, people caught with up to two ounces of marijuana will receive a ticket, not be charged with a crime.
Under the law, tourists with medical marijuana cards from other countries will soon be able to buy a permit allowing them to purchase ganja, The Associated Press reported.
Furthermore, marijuana will be fully legal for religious purposes, an important right for the country's Rastafarians, who use cannabis in sacred rituals.
Peter Bunning, Jamaica's national security minister, told the AP that the new pot policies don't mean the country will ignore the obligations of international drug treaties.
"The passage of this legislation does not create a free-for-all in the growing, transporting, dealing or exporting of ganja," he said.
Bask in the moment with Peter Tosh, who released this song nearly 30 years ago:
The whole Debbie Wasserman Schultz marijuana feud started over $305 in ads
A battle between Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and marijuana lobbyists in her home state of Florida all started over a super-small political attack ad.
The marijuana law reform group Americans for Safe Access paid $305 for an ad to run three times on cable television last year, Politico reported.
The ad said Wasserman Schultz — who opposed a medical marijuana initiative put before voters in November — "thinks it’s okay for medical marijuana patients to go to federal prison.”
She shot back at activists, saying the proposed law would lead to “abuse, fraud and accidents.”
The tensions have resurfaced this year, now that Wasserman Schultz is considering a Senate run in 2016.
This sounds stressful. If only Florida doctors had a remedy for that.
D.C. tonight: marijuana parties are allowed
Break out the lava lamps and blacklight posters — marijuana parties will be permitted in D.C.
Marijuana is set to become legal in the District at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday (that's midnight tonight, fyi). To let residents know what's legal and what's not, the city put out a fact sheet yesterday with some possible scenarios.
Consuming weed in public? Not legal.
How about in a bar? No, that's considered public.
Even a brownie? Nope, technically that's not OK, even though it must be hard to tell, right ;).
Consuming at home? Perfectly legal, unless you live in housing subsidized by the federal government. Then you're subject to federal drug laws.
The mayor even addressed the issue of "marijuana parties." Here's the city's official position:
Subject to existing restrictions on noise and occupancy levels, there is no prohibition on the use of marijuana by multiple people – each of whom must be 21 years of age or older – in the same residence. At no time, should there be two ounces or more of marijuana per adult.
Not everyone is in a partying mood. Some Republicans in Congress want a probe into whether D.C. officials used federal funds to move ahead with legalization.
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.