History of CBD and Cannabis In – Jamaica
While political times are constantly changing, there are few areas of governmental policy where attitudes have moved as quick as they have towards cannabis and CBD. Both were illegal almost everywhere in the world, for almost every reason, as recently as fifteen years ago. That is no longer the case, as many countries have moved to liberalize cannabis use for a variety of reasons.
Some countries have longer cultural and religious histories with cannabis than others; such is the case in Jamaica, a country with a long, long history of cannabis use.
History of Cannabis in Jamaica
Perhaps no country in the world is more closely associated with cannabis use than Jamaica. The drug was first imported to the country in the 1850s-1860s, but subsequently banned in 1913. As drug use increased in the 1960s, Jamaica took advantage of its warm climate (ideal for growing cannabis) and began to grow more and more marijuana to fulfill the needs of Americans who wanted to smoke.
Jamaica’s ties to marijuana are furthered by it’s Rastafarian religion, which is practiced by many who live in the country. Users of that religion use marijuana as part of religious ceremonies and rituals, believing that its use at appropriate moments can bring users closer to God.
Jamaica is also a country which is largely dependent on tourism, and as noted by one tourist magazine, many travel to the country explicitly for the marijuana, or at least under the impression that they will have easy access to it.
Current Legal Status of Cannabis & CBD
Marijuana has been decriminalized in the country since 2015. Possession of up to two ounces will result in a small fine of $3 (not a typo) and no criminal charges, although charges and arrests can result for possession of larger amounts. Individuals cannot smoke in public (this also applies to regular smoking) but may in private residences.
Medical marijuana was also recently legalized, and the first dispensaries opened in 2018. They are available in specific dispensaries. As of August 2019, four were open. Marijuana can be purchased with a prescription from a doctor, but in some cases, individuals can self-certify that they need marijuana.
Individuals who are legally enrolled in the country’s medical marijuana program can legally possess up to two ounces, as can adherents of the Rastafarian religion.
CBD is legal in Jamaica, as long as it contains “insignificant” levels of THC and is manufactured from hemp. It has even been folded in with the country’s significant tourism industry, with some resorts now offering CBD-infused massages.
While Jamaica has significantly liberalized its laws, smoking marijuana is still illegal and will subject individuals caught to a fine. Furthermore, aggravating circumstances can lead to an arrest, so if you choose to smoke in the country, do so with caution.