Bet you thought that marijuana was legal in Jamaica. Well, surprise: it’s not, but it probably will be soon.

Sort of. Jamaica’s governmental cabinet just approved legislation that would finally decriminalize possessing weed, a brilliant first step towards a more sensible drug policy.

While Jamaica has always been associated with weed, the truth is that it’s never been legal there — or even close to it. It’s super illegal to grow, buy, or sell cannabis or any of its derivatives. (Yes, that includes marijuana brownies.)

Typically, authorities have been down to look the other way. But that’s more likely for tourists and less for the locals. And when it comes to playing illegal games, nothing is guaranteed.

Until now, having a single joint could have landed a smoker in jail.



As of now, the Jamaican cabinet has given their approval to the bill. Next, it’ll be presented before the Senate, where politicians will debate its merits and faults.

If it goes through, the bill will make it legal to grow five or fewer marijuana plants, possess up to two ounces of weed. It would also create a regulatory body for the industry, something that many think would be of use in places like Colorado and Washington.

After nearly a century of debate over marijuana on the Caribbean island, could it be that progress gives rise to more progress? Uruguay recently began the process of legalizing reasonable amounts of weed completely, and many other countries have decriminalized personal use of the plant.

Maybe Jamaica’s opinion has been swayed by news of so many other countries and states updating weed’s legal status. Maybe not. Either way, travelers and residents alike will soon be reaping the rewards of a better drug policy — one that even caters to Rastafarians.

Join the Conversation