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