Bob Marley must be singing in his grave.

 What Marley sung about in some of his songs – legalizing marijuana – has come true.

The Jamaican Parliament has legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana last February 25, 2015.  After all, how long can marijuana remain illegal in the land of the Rastafarians who smoke it as a sacrament and puff it as a healing herb?

Yes, I can hear Marley’s reggae echoing in eternity:

Then legalize marijuana

Right here in Jamaica yeah

Dem say it cure glaucoma yeah

I'm an a de bush doctor yeah

So there'll be no more

Smokin' and feeling tense

When I see dem a com

I don't have to jump no fence

 

The legalization of marijuana in Jamaica came after several years of exhaustive dialogue among different sectors with opposing views on the issue.  Perhaps the changing cultural perception on marijuana have predisposed the Jamaican government to finally embrace the weed.  There are now more than 20 US states that allow legal use of medical marijuana. More so, there states that even allow recreational use of cannabis.  Jamaica need not worry about sanctions from the US now that they have followed the global legal marijuana trend.

During US President Obama’s visit to Jamaica in early April, a Rastafarian man in the audience asked him what he thinks about the potential of marijuana in Jamaica,  how it can help boost the economy and reduce poverty. 

“How did I anticipate this question?” President Barack Obama joked during a Q&A event, a response that drew laughter from the friendly crowd.

Then, the US president became more retrospect and answered, “I have to tell you, it’s not a silver bullet, because if you are legalizing marijuana, then how do you deal with other drugs and where do you draw the line?”

After Obama’s rhetoric question, he noted that two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized recreational marijuana use. 

US President Obama concluded, “We will see how that experiment works its way through the process. I do not foresee anytime soon Congress changing the law at a national basis.”

 

Uruguay  legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. Argentina  decimalized possession of marijuana since 2009. Chile allows the use of medical cannabis.  If the US and other neighboring countries had already  welcomed the weed, could not Jamaica do the same?

In an interview in As It Happens, Delroy Chuck, a Jamaican MP and former justice minister, said, “The new law brings Jamaican law in line with its culture, especially in rural areas where cannabis use is widespread…All the rural residents insist that it gives them a calming effect. It soothes their stomachs,”.

The new Jamaican law decriminalizes small possession of marijuana and establishes a licensing agency to regulate a legal medical cannabis industry.  The state shall run a “marijuana licensing authority” with the task to regulate the cultivation and supply of  cannabis for medical use.

Possession of up to 2oz (56.6g) of marijuana was downgraded to a petty offence – not anymore criminal one.  Jamaican citizens are allowed to cultivate of five or fewer plants on premises approved by the government.  .  

Peter Bunting, the island's national security minister, commented, “The passage of this legislation does not create a free-for-all in the growing, transporting, dealing or exporting of ganja. The security forces will continue to rigorously enforce Jamaican law consistent with our international treaty obligations,".

Bob Marley is not only an artist, a singer, a cultural icon and an activist – he is also a prophet for foreseeing that the sacred weed will one day be legal in his beloved Jamaica.

Let’s hear it from Marley’s  Legalize Marijuana one more time:

Then legalize marijuana

Right here in Jamaica yeah

Dem say it cure glaucoma yeah

I'm an a de bush doctor yeah

So there'll be no more

Smokin' and feeling tense

When I see dem a com

I don't have to jump no fence