Weed Is Decriminalized In Jamaica, But Protoje Reminds Us It’s Still Illegal
“Farmers will still go to jail, and corporate Jamaica will find a way to profit at their expense.” -Protoje
This February, the Jamaican Senate passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana for medical, religious, and scientific purposes. In addition, possession of less than two ounces of marijuana has been downgraded to a ticketable offense, instead of a criminal one. And according to the the Jamaican Information Service, Rastafarians will be allowed to smoke the substance for ceremonial purposes.
While Jamaica has long been seen as a cultural capital for recreational marijuana use, decriminalization hasn't been received without concern. "I am not excited about this," roots revivalist Protoje tells FADER. "While the law that has been passed allows you to not get arrested, and will help lots of youngsters not go to jail or get a criminal record, [marijuana] is still not legal and still restricted. Farmers will still go to jail, and corporate Jamaica will find a way to profit at their expense."
Of course, there's a variety of opinions on the island about the hot button issue, that has huge implications on social, economic and political levels. Whether you smoke or not is still your choice: read why Lee "Scratch" Perry wants you to quit and a bunch of other reggae icons want you to start.