Updated on January 31, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Jamaica is pursuing a different path than many U.S. states regarding its medical cannabis program. Instead of applying to the country’s Ministry of Health to obtain a medical marijuana card, patients can get a medical cannabis permit or prescription from a qualified physician.
Marijuana — or ganja, as it’s more commonly referred to in Jamaica — is easily accessible in the country through illegal means. However, Jamaica has been seeking to establish a medical marijuana program since 2015, when the Dangerous Drug Amendment Act (DDA) was established. Two government bodies, the Jamaican Ministry of Health and the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA), have taken on different aspects of the program and are seeking to hammer out guidelines for patients and distributors within the country.
Although Jamaicans can obtain ganja for recreational purposes quite easily, it remains an illegal substance. Cannabis use is only legal for scientific, research and medical purposes, or for religious purposes within the Rastafarian faith.
Still, recreational users carrying two ounces or less of marijuana won’t be arrested even if they’re are caught. Those found in possession are issued a fixed penalty notice, which gives them 30 days to pay a 500 Jamaican dollar fine — which is equivalent to about $4 USD. Those with more than two ounces are subject to jail time or a hefty fine.
However, as the CLA establishes medical marijuana dispensaries, there will be many distinct advantages for patients with a valid cannabis prescription — for example, they’ll be able to:
The Ministry of Health is working to establish guidelines on how patients can obtain a medical cannabis prescription in Jamaica. Both residents and visitors to the country can get a medical cannabis permit. Although there are currently no state-authorized dispensaries, having a prescription or permit will allow patients to possess marijuana without fear of being issued a ticket or being arrested.
Patients who would like a prescription for cannabis should visit a physician approved by the Ministry of Health to prescribe these kinds of medications. Also, visitors to Jamaica with a medical marijuana ID card or prescription from their country of origin can also receive a medical cannabis permit.
The Ministry of Health is still working out the criteria patients must follow to obtain a medical cannabis prescription. However, their regulations will probably resemble those of other countries that issue medical marijuana prescriptions. In these nations, patients can receive a 30-day prescription of medical marijuana. When this expires, they must return to their physician for an updated prescription.
To legally obtain a medical cannabis prescription, patients must visit a doctor approved by the Ministry of Health to prescribe marijuana. These physicians must be:
It’s also recommended that they undergo training to completely understand marijuana’s medical and therapeutic benefits.
There are two government bodies responsible for establishing Jamaica’s medical marijuana program. To learn more about this up-and-coming industry, contact:
As Jamaica establishes further criteria for their medical marijuana program, MarijuanaDoctors.com is here to keep you in the know. We strive to update our information as soon as new regulations are passed and dispensaries open across the country and world. Be sure to check out our blog or resources library for additional information about the medical marijuana industry — both in the U.S. and internationally.