US Threatens Jamaica Over Cannabis Decriminalisation
Saturday, August 25, 2001American authorities have threatened Jamaica with economic sanctions and 'decertification' if the island follows the recommendations of its government backed National Commission on Ganga, which called last week for decriminalisation.
"The US administration opposes the decriminalisation of marijuana use," embassy spokesman, Michael Koplovsky, told the Jamaican Gleaner this week. "The US Government will consider Jamaica's adherence to its commitments under the 1988 UN Drug Convention when making its determination under the annual narcotics certification review."
The US threats, which involve withholding millions of dollars of financial aid from the Caribbean island, follow publication of a Government backed report that's recommended decriminalisation for the island's estimated 1.1million smokers (40% of the population). 'Marijuana's reputation among the people as a panacea and a spiritually enhancing substance is so strong that it must be regarded as culturally entrenched," the report concluded and called for the international community to re-examine the status of cannabis (San Jose Mercury News)
"This is a domestic affair. It is a recommendation for self-help, not to export ganja, so we are not imposing it on anybody," leading local sociologist and ganja expert Dr Dennis Forsythe told The Gleaner.
"The Commission's recommendation is in keeping with the sentiments of the Jamaican people. If America is so much for democracy then to deny us certification because of this is in flagrant breach of such principles," he said.
Fellow local cannabis campaigner R Keith Stroup suggested the Jamaican Commission's findings simply matched decriminalisation policies recently adopted in European countries including Portugal, Swizterland and Belgium.
"The US is acting as if this commission's recommendation is unique," he said. It's only the US that has maintained this silly war on drugs."
http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com (Jamaica's top newspaper)
http://www.sjmercury.com (San Jose Mercury News, US)
http://www.cannabis.com (cannabis information site)
http://www.freevibe.com (National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, US)