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Jamaica

Jamaica has decriminalized the possession of weed and has legalized its use for religious and medicinal purposes.

Legislation history

Weed was illegal in Jamaica until 2015 when legislators passed an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act that decriminalized the possession of up to 56.6 grams of cannabis for personal use. The change makes said possession punishable by a fine of 500 Jamaican dollars (or about $5 USD). The amendment allows medical, therapeutic, and scientific use. Jamaica is the first country to explicitly legalize weed for religious use, and citizens who practice Rastafarianism may use cannabis freely for sacramental purposes. Jamaicans may also grow up to five plants for personal use. Smoking weed in public is illegal and punishable by a fine of JMD $500. It is legal to smoke cannabis in licensed dispensaries and private residences.

With the legalization of medical marijuana, the Cannabis Licensing Authority worked under the Jamaican Ministry of Health to create rules and regulations for the establishment of medical marijuana dispensaries. The first dispensaries in Jamaica opened in 2018, and there are now medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the island.

Overview

The Jamaican Ministry of Health oversees the CLA, which distributes licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, and manufacturing/processing.

It is illegal to smoke marijuana in Jamaica in public, but the possession of cannabis has been decriminalized, punishable by a fine of JMD $500.

Patient registry, consumption, and possession

Jamaican citizens and tourists alike may visit a doctor or healthcare provider to get a recommendation for a medical marijuana card for a small fee. The Jamaican government is relatively flexible about qualifications. Therefore, many physicians may be willing to recommend cannabis use even for mild episodes of anxiety, nausea, or insomnia. Patients must be over the age of 18 and able to provide government-issued identification.

Medical marijuana dispensaries offer different forms of cannabis along with infused tinctures, edibles, extracts, vape cartridges, and more. Qualified patients may register with local dispensaries for online ordering and pickup.

Qualifying conditions and authorized medical providers

Jamaica’s legislation does not specify which medical conditions qualify a patient for medical marijuana. The amendment leaves the qualifying conditions and purposes up to the recommending physician or medical provider.

To qualify to recommend the medical or therapeutic use of cannabis, the physician or healthcare provider must be:

  • A licensed medical practitioner with the Medical Council of Jamaica.
  • Approved by the Ministry of Health to prescribe or recommend medical cannabis.

Licensing

The CLA is responsible for licensing all medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivators, manufacturers, and processors. It is also in charge of maintaining, enforcing, and updating all rules and regulations regarding the use, possession, cultivation, and sale of medical marijuana in Jamaica.

Reciprocity

Jamaica allows anyone over the age of 18 to consult a qualified physician to receive a medical marijuana recommendation. This includes tourists and registered medical marijuana patients from the United States and abroad.

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Jamaica Marijuana Information

Lodging | Quick FAQ | Travel Forum

When we think of Jamaica, ‘ganja’ is typically one of the fastest associations we make with the country. Thanks to the Rastafarian community, which was popularized by Bob Marley and reggae music, marijuana use has become a symbol of the country. Rastafarians use marijuana as a spiritual drug, and the smoking of marijuana is a part of their religious ceremonies. However, despite marijuana’s ubiquity in the country’s perception, marijuana is not fully legal in Jamaica and until recently, it was not decriminalized.

In mid-2015, the country passed a drug law amendment that decriminalizes small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Under the new law, possession of up to 2 ounces (or 56 grams) of marijuana is a petty offence punishable by a maximum fine of about $5. The law also allows the cultivation of up to five marijuana plants per household. Rastafari adults are also now permitted to use marijuana for sacramental purposes for the first time. Jamaica is the first country to specify that marijuana use related to religion is legal. These law changes are hopefully the first steps to full marijuana legalization in Jamaica.

One of the biggest changes in the law is that medical marijuana is now legal, and Jamaica hopes to establish a presence in the globally emerging medical marijuana market. Under the act, possession of marijuana for medical or therapeutic purposes is allowed. “Therapeutic” is a flexible term that many Jamaicans hope will allow tourists to partake in cannabis consumption. A cannabis licensing authority will regulate the cultivation and distribution of marijuana.

Many Jamaicans are excited about the prospect of pot tourism. Under the law, visitors who are ill or have a medical marijuana prescription from their home country will be able to purchase a permit at the airport for a few dollars that will allow them to consume marijuana. Patients who have a medical marijuana prescription will have to show a prescription from their doctor. Another popular tourism activity in Jamaica is taking a tour of an outdoor marijuana farm. This activity comes highly recommended and many companies can coordinate these tours for you – you’ve never seen anything like it!

Make sure to smoke all your herb or gift it to a fellow tourist before you leave the country – it is still illegal and considered drug trafficking to leave the country with marijuana.

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Jamaica Marijuana FAQ

Is Marijuana legal in Jamaica?

Medical marijuana is legal in Jamaica. Although recreational marijuana use is not explicitly legal, it has been decriminalized and possession of up to 2 ounces or 56 grams of marijuana is punishable by a maximum fine of $5. It is also legal to grow up to five marijuana plants.

Marijuana use is also legal for practicing Rastafari adults to use for sacramental purposes. Rastafarians are permitted to grow and transport their marijuana with no limits, but they are forbidden from selling it and must only consume in their place of worship.

Where can I get marijuana?

For residents of Jamaica, you are permitted to grow up to five of your own plants. For visitors to Jamaica, if you are ill or have a medical marijuana prescription from your home country, you may purchase a permit that will allow you to buy marijuana from special medical marijuana shops or directly from cultivators. As of March 2016, Jamaica has not opened any medical marijuana shops.

For tourists looking to buy marijuana, it is exceedingly easy to find and you can likely ask any cab driver or hotel worker for a hook up with no problem. The new law means tourists don’t have to worry about more than a $5 possession fine if caught.

Do I need to have a medical marijuana prescription from my home country to purchase a permit?

No, you don’t have to. Visitors arriving in Jamaica who want to purchase a permit will just have to swear that they are ill or using the marijuana for therapeutic purposes. “Therapeutic purposes” is written into the law as a permissible reason for using cannabis, and because it is very vaguely defined, most visitors will be allowed to buy a permit with that reason.

How much marijuana can I have?

You may possess up to two ounces (or 56 grams) of marijuana and cultivate up to five marijuana plants.

What kinds of marijuana will be available?

Pretty much all of the marijuana that you’ll find in Jamaica is grown outdoors. You will find Sativa, Indica, and hybrid strains of marijuana. Sativa strains of marijuana are a more energizing head high, whereas an Indica strain will give you a stronger body high and can induce “couch-lock.”

How much will it cost?

Typically, you can get an ounce of marijuana for $100 or less in Jamaica. Prices may vary when the medical marijuana stores open.

Where can I consume marijuana in Jamaica?

Under the law, marijuana must be consumed on private property. You likely won’t get in trouble for smoking in public, but use discretion.

Can I bring marijuana purchased in Jamaica to another country?

No! All marijuana and marijuana products purchased in Jamaica must be consumed in Jamaica. Jamaica has very strict drug trafficking laws and they are strict about them. If you have marijuana left over after your visit, donate or sell it to another grateful tourist.

Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. Please respect the current state of Marijuana law in your area.

Weed in Jamaica is common, but there are a couple things you need to know about Jamaican marijuana laws as a tourist. Click here for everything you need to know