Legal status of marijuana in jamaica

Legal status of marijuana in jamaica
Steven Voser

Bob Marley and Rastas, Jamaica's "medical" reform looks pretty encompassing. But is recreational cannabis legal in Jamaica?

Peace Mon, and pass the ganja. This is what real reform looks like, Jamaica-style. Yes, there are still issues. Yes, cannabis does not yet have full “legal” status. That said, you could fool just about anyone. It sure does seem as if cannabis is legal in Jamaica. And that is kind of the point.

If there was a place that said “welcome” ganja tokers, in every language, it would be this island paradise. The Rastafarians have long used cannabis as part of their religious and spiritual path. They have also become an island of liberation in the Caribbean for the cause.

There is no place, outside of maybe Las Vegas, where cannabis-friendly tourism beckons like a green beacon.


Technically, cannabis has been illegal in Jamaica for decades. Actually, most of this was due to a lack of regulation. As of 2015, however, reform laws have gradually been introduced in an effort to regulate the industry.

The ostensible focus of reform now is to enhance “medical” access, but don’t kid yourself. This is one of the few countries that is moving forward on reform, no matter what anybody else thinks. Or no matter the label they put on it.

You do not even need a doctor’s script to get it. All you have to do is say you are buying it for medical purposes. That is pretty much it.


It is hard to get better than this. Citizens are allowed to cultivate and consume cannabis on a daily basis. It is still technically “illegal” but no longer criminalized. That said, there are a few restrictions. The idea here is to promote an island paradise where pot is cheap, plentiful and even available at airport kiosks (for those entering the country).

Locals are also allowed to grow up to six plants.

If you are caught “transporting” more than 56 grams, you face a fine. How much is this fine? It may sound like a lot in local currency, but it translates to about 5 euros. You will live.

If you really want to get rid of that fine, however, you do have an escape clause. Become a Rasta. Rastafarians are allowed – conveniently, to live in exemption from the cannabis law.

The one thing to remember? Make sure to smoke or consume all of your cannabis on the island. Do not even think about bringing “samples” home. Even by boat. They check. What you buy in the country needs to be consumed in the country. Anything else is highly, and internationally problematic.

The focus here is on regulating an industry that will continue to bring tourists flocking to this island nation. This is the one country that appears to have decided that welcoming tourists to the island with pot on arrival is a popular invite.

That means it is only going to get easier to get your weed. And it is pretty easy now, to begin with.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser

Steven is a long-time veteran of cannabis journalism, having delved into every aspect of the subject. His particular interests lie in cannabis culture, the emerging science of cannabis, and how it is shaping the legal landscape across the globe.