Updated on April 19, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
In recent years, Jamaica has lifted its ban on medical marijuana to allow patients to get natural relief. Every country handles cannabis medicine in their own way. So, what’s the situation with Jamaica’s medicinal cannabis policies and accessibility?
Some countries have a state-run medical marijuana program that patients can join to use cannabis medicine legally. While these systems help governments regulate medicine, they can also add extra barriers to getting legal access.
Fortunately, Jamaica doesn’t need you to join a program to get medical marijuana legally. Instead, doctors under the Medical Council of Jamaica can prescribe medicinal cannabis. If your doctor thinks you could benefit from cannabis medicine, they can prescribe it just like any other medication. All you need is a Government of Jamaica Health Card.
Marijuana was legal in Jamaica until 1913, when measures were taken to prohibit it. The Council of Evangelical Churches in Jamaica urged the government to enact the Ganja Law of 1913, which banned the cultivation and importation of marijuana.
However, folks who considered the plant a large part of their culture fought back. Members of the Rastafarian religion, such as Bob Marley, advocated for the legalization of cannabis. In 2015, Jamaica decriminalized marijuana and allowed Rastafarians to use their spiritual drug. These 2015 Amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act also legalized medical, therapeutic and scientific cannabis.
While owning cannabis for recreational purposes isn’t legal, it is decriminalized for up to two ounces, or 56 grams. If you have a small amount, you will only receive a fine of up to $500. Anybody can have up to five marijuana plants in their home, and Rastafarians can carry marijuana for religious purposes.
Jamaican tech companies are currently working toward establishing telemedicine and electronic medical systems in their country. At the Medical Association of Jamaica Symposium, new telemedicine-related technology took center stage. With more developments, Jamaican medical cannabis providers will have the resources to help patients in remote and rural areas.
The prescribing doctor determines whether a patient meets the criteria for marijuana medicine. Patients with chronic and terminal conditions have the highest chance of qualifying.
The Ministry of Health is also considering approving a class of health professionals who will recommend cannabis for therapeutic or health reasons.
Medical marijuana patients in Jamaica do not need a special program card to get medicine. Jamaican citizens can use their government health card and prescription as legal proof. Foreign visitors to Jamaica can request a permit from the government to use medical cannabis.
Other details of Jamaica’s medical marijuana legislation include:
People caught with under two ounces of marijuana will receive minor punishment. However, you can face strict penalties for having more than two ounces of cannabis. Sentences for possession of larger amounts include arrest, court trials, fines and imprisonment. Medical marijuana patients can carry as much as their prescription dictates.
Since Jamaica recently established medical marijuana regulations, they are subject to change anytime. Fortunately, MarijuanaDoctors.com follows medicinal cannabis news all over the world. Check our news and updates on a regular basis to learn the latest developments in Jamaica and receive patient lifestyle advice.