jamaica

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Germany: Medical Marijuana Program To Begin In March

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Qualifying patients in Germany should be able to obtain medical marijuana as early as next month, as a result of medical marijuana legislation recently passed by the German government.

Regulators will license marijuana cultivation under the new program to provide the drug for patients with qualifying conditions. Patients will not be permitted to grow their own plants under the new law. Health insurance providers will cover marijuana-related expenses for patients.

Regulators will import marijuana from the Netherlands and Canada in the early stages of the program.

Germany joins several other nations, including Jamaica and Colombia, which have recently passed legislation to legally produce and supply medical marijuana.

West Indies: Jamaica, Formerly Opposed To Marijuana, Now Wants To Cash In On It

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Jamaica has long been considered the land of ganja, but has worked hard to fight that reputation.

Despite strict drug laws and spending millions on public education to diminish its image as a pot mecca, its role as a major supplier of illegal weed to the United States and its international image led by the likes of Bob Marley have been impossible to overcome.

After watching states like Colorado and California generate billions of dollars from marijuana, Jamaica has decided to accept the plant and is looking to promote "wellness tourism", having legalized medical marijuana. The nation also decriminalized the possession of small amounts of pot just last year.

A recent conference at a luxury hotel in Montego Bay attracted government leaders, Rastafarian leaders, business leaders, and pot farmers.

Rastafarian leader First Man kicked off the conference with a speech on the global benefits of marijuana.

“We are talking about a plant that bridges the gap between all of our relationships,” First Man, barefoot with a Rasta scarf around his neck, said to a packed room. “Our planet needs this relationship to happen.”

First Man was speaking at the first CanEx conference, a gathering of government and local leaders trying to figure out just how the country can most effectively make this turn-around, without neglecting international law.

Caribbean: Jamaica Hopes To Cash In On Pot Tourism

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Several Caribbean countries are benefitting from the multi-billion dollar health and wellness tourism industry. Jamaica hopes to become one of them, but is planning an alternative to traditional medicine.

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said that Jamaica's lush southwestern coast is perfect for "cannabis-infused tourism" where products made from the plant would play a major part in the tourism sector.

Minister Bartlett spoke recently at Canex Jamaica, the first cannabis-centered conference on the business potential of the marijuana trade, where he said he recognized “how the cannabis product and its application could fit neatly in a network of health and wellness that could drive a new demographic into Jamaica with a higher spend and which will be able to establish us as a destination with a difference.”

Bartlett said Jamaica should not be a destination with only all-inclusive properties and mass tourism: “We believe that we can do product differentiation and we can do a level of product diversification which enables us to be attractive to all demographics.”

He said that Jamaica wants a piece of the US$494 billion global market for that kind of tourism.

Jamaica: Ganja Research Revived At University Of West Indies

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The University of the West Indies in Kingston Jamaica, has revived a special medical marijuana research project from the 1970’s.

The program is designed to help Caribbean countries enter the medical marijuana market and enjoy the profits from it that nations like the U.S. and Canada receive.

The University is researching the effects of marijuana on the human body, growing different strains of marijuana since 2015 and working to develop products that treat illnesses.

The research is being conducted on the Mona Campus, where Professor Archibald McDonald is the Principal. McDonald is optimistic about what this project and the Caribbean region can do for medical marijuana, and for their economy. He stated, “The UWI Mona Campus will lead the world in medical cannabis.”

UWI’s magazine ‘The Pelican’ discussed the program in a recent issue, saying “The University of the West Indies has revived the ganja research programme it began in the 1970’s as it prepares to launch Jamaica as a global powerhouse for cannabis research.”

The magazine stated that the U.S is on track to make $13 billion in medical marijuana sales by 2019 and that it's time for the Caribbean to get on board.

Jamaica decriminalized the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana in 2015 and allows the cultivation of up to five plants.

Jamaica: Oaksterdam Sponsoring Stepping High Festival March 5-6

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The Stepping High Festival, also known as the Jamaican Ganja Cup, is scheduled for March 5 and 6, 2016, in Negril, Jamaica. Offering an authentic Jamaican cultural experience built on the foundation of Rastafari culture and spirituality, family, community, friendship and love. The Stepping High Festival will feature exhibitions, entertainment and education—including seminars conducted by Oaksterdam University.

"Oaksterdam has partnered with Stepping High because of its focus on cannabis, the community, the Jamaican people, and the local jobs available because of the festival," said Dr. Aseem Sappal, provost and dean of faculty for Oaksterdam University. "Now is an exciting time. In addition to partnering with Stepping High, we're also working with the Jamaican government and the University of West Indies, where we are involved in helping lead important cannabis research and development."

Stepping High began in 2003 as an underground event promoted primarily by word of mouth and has become an enviable brand showcasing the finest strains of cannabis and a musical extravaganza that attracts thousands of people from around the world annually.

This year's event will feature two cannabis competitions to judge the highest quality Jamaican marijuana. The Best in the West contest entries will be from Western Jamaica, and the Nation's Best contest will include entries from ganja farmers island-wide.

New Jersey: Son of Musician Peter Tosh Launches Fundraising Campaign to Battle Marijuana Charges

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Charged In New Jersey For Posession With Intent To Distribute Marijuana, Peter Tosh's son Jawara McIntosh Faces 10-20 Years In Jail If Convicted

Jawara “Tosh1” McIntosh, son of the, legendary reggae artist Peter Tosh, is fighting what he believes is a grave injustice for the possession of marijuana. As a Rastafarian, McIntosh argues, “I was raised in the tradition of Rastafari, which is not simply a religion but a way of life. And in the Rastafarian tradition, herb, also known as cannabis, is a sacrament we use freely for spiritual purposes. Besides the fact that the use of this sacred plant should be protected by the Constitution, it is utterly ridiculous that a plant could ever be classified as a drug.”

Legal fees and debt from the sizable bail are mounting. In response, Tosh1 and the Peter Tosh Estate have launched an Indiegogo Crowdfunding account to help McIntosh fight the charges. The account is now live at: www.indiego.com. The decriminalization of cannabis has become a hot topic in recent months, and will certainly be a campaign issue in the 2016 elections.

In fact, it is a widely held opinion among lawmakers that the criminal justice system should be reformed. Recently at the NAACP’s annual convention in Philadelphia, President Barack Obama cited the “long history of inequity in the criminal justice system in America,” and argued that the system was “particularly skewed by race and wealth.”

Jamaica: Ministry of Industry Hires Consultant For Medical Marijuana and Industrial Hemp

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Jamaica's Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce on Friday announced that BOTEC Analysis has been hired as a consultant for the development of regulations to guide Jamaica's nascent medical marijuana and industrial hemp sectors. At the end of the consultancy, BOTEC Analysis will submit to Jamaica's Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) a final report with regulatory recommendations, which will include, but are not limited to, licensing, market sizing, taxation, and organizational structures.

Over two months, BOTEC Analysis will conduct on-the-ground research and a series of interviews with stakeholders in the Jamaican government as well as marijuana industry participants, local business leaders, scientists, police departments, medical associations, and consumers. Researchers will take into account the role of proprietary strains, intellectual property, patented processes, and traditional cultural and religious practices in the development and operation of the industries.

"BOTEC Analysis will also incorporate global best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions in the development, administration, and management of medical marijuana and hemp," the company, which also oversaw implementation of Washington state's problematic legalization law, announced.

U.S.: Coalition Demands Due Process For Father Deported For Minor Marijuana Convictions

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A coalition of immigrant rights and criminal justice reform advocacy organizations are calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Chief Counsel to allow green card holder Garfield Kenault Lawrence, who was deported away from his U.S. Citizen wife and child to Jamaica, to reopen his immigration case.

After a year of being held in an immigration detention prison (including during the birth of his first child), Kenault (A# 045 612 966) was wrongfully deported in 2013 based on an incorrect legal standard applied by an immigration judge who labeled his two minor 2009 marijuana convictions to be “drug trafficking aggravated felonies.”

However, just a few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Moncrieffe v. Holder that “characterize[ing] a low-level drug offense as 'illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,' and thus an 'aggravated felony' . . . defies the 'commonsense conception' of these terms."

Despite this clear decision, ICE is refusing to reopen his case so that he can have a proper hearing under the correct law, and is fighting his lawyers’ attempts by claiming that too much time has passed.

“An Immigration judge got the law wrong and fractured an American family when he ordered Kenault deported,” said Heidi Altman, legal director of the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. "We call on ICE to right this wrong by allowing Kenault to come home and have his day in court."

Jamaica: BioTrackTHC Collaborates With Universities To Provide Marijuana Tracking

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BioTrackTHC™, a provider of seed-to-sale software tracking solutions for marijuana businesses and government regulators, on Thursday announced partnerships that provide the company's seed-to-sale medical marijuana tracking technology and training to the University of Technology, Jamaica and the University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica.

The two universities are growing medical marijuana for research purposes and are the only entities legally allowed to grow marijuana in the country until business licenses are approved.

"We are proud to be working with both of Jamaica's institutions of higher learning to help bolster knowledge and infrastructure for the legal medical marijuana industry in Jamaica," said Patrick Vo, co-CEO, BioTrackTHC. "It's a mutual education process whereby our company is learning about the needs of Jamaica while sharing our technology and expertise that is leading the way in the rapidly expanding U.S. market.

"Our goal is to provide a solution that is tailored to meet the specific needs and priorities of the Jamaican people and their new medical marijuana industry," Vo said. "We look forward to the results of their research."

Global: Jamaican Government Calls For UN Drug Policy Reforms

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The United Nations' high-level review of global drug polices that's getting underway in New York today has already yielded some exciting results.

Mark Golding, the Jamaican minister of justice, on Thursday morning spoke at the UN debate session and called for the establishment of a Committee of Experts to begin exploring how to revise international drug treaties that threaten to stand in the way of nations' marijuana reforms. (Jamaica recently enacted a law allowing marijuana cultivation and use.)

The proposal is very significant, and is one of the main requests of a group sign-on statement released earlier this week, according to Tom Angell of Marijuana Majority. "Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations," the groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, wrote in a sign-on letter released on Tuesday.

Others who spoke out Thursday morning against the ongoing War On Drugs included top officials from Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina, among others.

Jamaica: Ganja Law Now In Effect; Up To 2 Ounces Marijuana Decriminalized

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Jamaica's governor general has given his assent to the so-called "Ganja Law," the bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act, making possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a ticketable offense rather than an arrestable one.

Justice Minister Mark Golding made the disclosure yesterday, just over a month after the Jamaican House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the legislation now being called the Ganja Law, reports the Jamaica Observer.

"My understanding is that the GG has now assented to the Bill and the signed Bill is now on its way back to Parliament," Golding told ganja advocates who were anxious that the amendments become law as soon as possible.

The House passed the bill on February 24, and it was expected to be signed into law about a week later. Golding didn't say what caused the apparent delay in the Bill returning to Parliament from King's House.

During the 30-day wait, there was speculation among some marijuana advocates that Governor General Sir Patrick Allen, a member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, might have been having difficulties giving his assent to the amendments.

The Act is highlighted by a provision making possession of two ounces or less of ganja a ticketable offense. Other provisions could pave the way for establishment of a legal ganja industry that advocates believe could reduce poverty in Jamaica.

Jamaica: Cannabis Global Initiative To Assist Marijuana Companies Entering New Market

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Legislation to make provisions for ganja reform was approved by the Jamaican Cabinet and tabled in the Senate in January 2015. This Bill, the Dangerous Drugs Act 2015, and popularly called the Ganja Bill, opened the door to the emergence of new financial and commercial opportunities for companies who want to do business in Jamaica.

As advisors for cannabis reform to the country of Jamaica, the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI) says it is now offering "a full suite of services to assist companies wanting to be among the first to do legal cannabis business in the Caribbean," and has opened a second office in Kingston.

With the opening of its second office and CGI's longstanding relationships with the Jamaican government, policy stakeholders and the growing community, CGI is prepared to advise companies with placing their products and/or services in the first Caribbean country to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. TessMaria Leon, director of Client Services for CGI's Caribbean team, heads CGI's Kingston office.

"We've created a robust offering to ensure the best companies are being represented and positioned correctly to do business in the Caribbean," says CGI President Wanda James. "CGI has created a number of packages with several levels of service designed to introduce cannabis-related businesses to Jamaican culture, lifestyle and business infrastructure."

Jamaica Receives Warning On Marijuana Legalization From U.S. Government

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With marijuana legalization gaining momentum in Jamaica, the United States federal government has indicated it is uncomfortable with the idea.

Such a move could increase the flow of ganja from Jamaica to the U.S., according to William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, reports Arlene Martin-Wilkins of the Jamaica Observer.

Brownfield was responding to a question about last Friday's tabling of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2015 in the Jamaican Senate, which would decriminalize marijuana for medical, religious, and personal uses. The possession of small amounts of ganja -- two ounces or less -- would become a non-arrestable offense.

"With or without the legalization of ganja, the decriminalization of ganja, the importation of ganja into the U.S. remains against the law and the issue then is how much impact will legalization or decriminalization have on that," Brownfield told reporters on Tuesday. "And, I can assure you that, from the U.S. side, we will continue to pursue maximum efforts to prevent any import in the United States and we will request and expect complete co-operation from law enforcement authorities of the Government of Jamaica in eliminating this sort of trafficking."

Global: Bunny Wailer Criticizes Marley Estate On Commercial Marijuana Deal

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Bob Marley's former bandmate, Bunny Wailer, has publicly criticized a deal between the Marley estate and the Seattle-based international marijuana company Privateer Holdings. Wailer, who has long advocated for cannabis legalization, said the business venture isn't a good idea.

"The Marley Natural deal must be publicly opposed," Wailer said, reports Shereita Grizzle at the The Gleaner. Not only does the deal have serious implications for future efforts by Jamaica to capitalize on the benefits of marijuana legalization, but it also highlights the selfishness of the Marley estate, according to Wailer.

Wailer agreed with those who say that Bob Marley shouldn't be used as the face of the first global cannabis brand. "The people are correct," Wailer said, adding that the global cannabis brand should incorporate The Wailers as a whole.

"The ganja issue can only be dealt with as The Wailers collectively, and what the Marley estate has done since Robert Marley's death is to wipe away the collective works, catalogue, image and rights of The Wailers from public existence," Wailer said.

"The Marley Natural brand has now spotlighted their (the Marley family's) selfish behavior," Wailer said, adding that himself and the late Peter Tosh are probably more deserving that Marley himself to be the face of the cannabis brand, given their greater involvement with the issue.

Global: Online Screening of Classic Reggae Movie 'Countryman' Set For Dec. 5

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Next Friday, December 5, Palm Pictures will revive the great tradition of "midnight movies" with an exclusive online screening of the legendary reggae classic Countryman. Directed by Dickie Jobson, the film is a 1982 cult classic, featuring classic tracks from Bob Marley, Steel Pulse, and Toots and The Maytals.

Preceding the movie screening, at 11:30 pm on Friday 12/5, the film's co-star Carl Bradshaw will live-chat from Jamaica via Google Hangouts On Air with veteran reggae journalist Rob Kenner. The live chat with Bradshaw and the special "Midnight Movie Streaming" will be broadcast live via Google Hangouts here.

Countryman, a real life Jamaican fisherman and mystic, played himself in the 90-minute art house film. His feats of skill and daring in that movie made him an “ital” (natural) Rasta superhero and were an accurate reflection of his way of life.

The film's depictions of ganja use only serve to further endear it to a devoted cult audience.

Island Records founder and Countryman Executive Producer Chris Blackwell recalls, “He was a unique character, able to live in the jungle. We decided to do a film with him because you could never find a movie star who could wrestle with alligators and run through swamps the way he did.

"Countryman was an amazing person, always positive and full of humor," Blackwell ssaid. "Being of African and Indian descent, he embodied the Jamaican motto, ‘Out of Many, One People.’”

California: 2014 Emerald Cup Presented By Locals, For Locals

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"Unlike New York-based High Times events or L.A.-based Hempcon, The Emerald Cup is presented by locals, for locals, and the state’s definitive county fair draws much of California’s original cannabis industry." ~ SFGate, "Smell The Truth"

“Not only is the spirit of the event responsible, it is vital that the lessons it has to offer are heard and understood by those outside it. Sustainability, earth-friendly practices, clean medicine and better business standards all take center stage during the event, one which is beginning to attract a global audience.” ~ John Vergados, SKUNK Magazine

The Emerald Cup will make its highly anticipated return to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California, on December 13 and 14. For more than a decade, The Emerald Cup has become synonymous with setting the highest standards for sustainable, sun-grown, outdoor cannabis and is the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, medicinal cannabis competition in the world, making it “The Definitive Cup for the Fall Harvest.”

For the third year in a row, SKUNK Magazine will present the Emerald Cup’s grand prize of an all-inclusive stay for two at their resort, Pure Garden, in Negril, Jamaica.

Jamaica Poised To Decriminalize Marijuana Possession, Approve Medical and Religious Use

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Jamaican Minister of Justice Mark Golding on Friday released a statement announcing government support for a proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana and the decriminalization of marijuana use for religious, scientific and medical purposes.

"The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities and smoking, while still meeting the ends of justice,” Minister Golding said. “The proposed changes represent an approach which will ensure to the benefit of the persons concerned and the society as a whole, and reduce the burdens on the court system.”

The Jamaican Cabinet approved these amendments on June 2; Parliament is expected to approve the proposal in September.

The measure approved by the Cabinet includes the following stipulations:

• Possession of up to two ounces of marijuana becomes a non-arrestable, ticketable infraction, which does not give rise to a criminal record; minors in possession and those with appearance of dependency will be referred to treatment programs;
• Smoking of marijuana will be allowed in private places and by Rastafarians in places designated for their religious worship; and
• Decriminalization of possession of marijuana for religious, therapeutic and scientific research purposes.

Minister Golding also announced a separate marijuana-related bill to be presented to Parliament, which would expunge existing criminal records for the smoking or possession of small quantities of marijuana.

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