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Is Cannabis Legal In Jamaica? 


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Is Cannabis Legal In Jamaica? | Marijuana PlantIs Cannabis Legal In Jamaica? | Marijuana Plant

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer

Is cannabis legal in Jamaica? It must be, right? The drug has been so long associated with Jamaican culture that it is hard for many to believe that it is actually an outlawed substance. Many simply can’t wrap their head around it. But, as unbelievable as it is for you, it is still very true.

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There were harsh penalties with long prison times associated with Marijuana up until the revised Dangerous Drugs Act of Jamaica (2015). Now, medicinal marijuana is legalized and recreational marijuana is heavily decriminalized. Ut that doesn’t mean you can simply go and purchase as much as you want.  There are rules that still must be adhered to:

  • For starters, decriminalisation does not mean legal. It simply means having 2 ounces (56g) or less of weed in your possession is no longer an offence that attracts jail time. It is now a ticketable offence and the fine is just JMD 500, (US 3.30).

  • A ticket will not count against your criminal record either and should be paid within 30 days. But this is only if it is 2 ounces.

  • Individuals under the age of 18 and/or those who seem dependent on the drug, will be referred to the National Council on Drug Abuse for counselling, in addition to having to pay the ticket.

  • Each individual over 18 in a household, is entitled to no more than five trees planted in the yard. 

  • The new amendments also mean the possession of ganja by practising Rastafarians for a religious sacrament, the use of ganja for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes will not attract jail time nor is it a ticketable offence. If you are in possession of ganja pursuant to a licence, authorization or permit issued under the DDA these rules apply just the same.


Persons who are adherents of the Rastafarian faith, or Rastafarian organizations, may apply for an event promoted or sponsored by them to be declared an exempt event. In order to apply, the event must be primarily for the purpose of the celebration or observance of the Rastafarian faith

Where an event is declared exempt, persons who attend the event will not be liable to be arrested, detained or prosecuted for smoking ganja or possession of ganja at the event, or transporting ganja to the event, as long as they have complied with the amounts and conditions specified in the order declaring it an exempt event.

Can Visitors Smoke On Vacation?

Island Strains Marijuana Dispensary - The Hip Strip Montego BayIsland Strains Marijuana Dispensary - The Hip Strip Montego Bay

Tourists and visiting Jamaicans living overseas may apply for a permit on arrival to purchase up to 2 ounces of ganja at a time for medicinal or therapeutic purposes.

To obtain this permit, To get this visitors will either need to provide the relevant authority with proof that their dependence on marijuana is due to the advice or recommendation of a medical practitioner in the country they reside.

That, or they can just sign a voluntary declaration to confirm that you are indeed using marijuana for medical reasons. The permit is issued by Jamaica’s Ministry of Health, and a small fee is associated with this permit.

Hemp strains of marijuana are excluded from all tickets, jail time and permits as it does not contain enough of the dangerous components for it to cause any harm to the body. This is what medical dispensaries sell on the island.

There are marijuana dispensaries in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril, Falmouth and Kingston that are licensed to sell marijuana and its by-products. And these by-products can be bought without attracting penalties.

But while “therapeutic” can be used loosely, the word scientific cannot. To obtain free reign to conduct research, you must be a part of the research team at an accredited tertiary institution or permission must come directly from the Scientific Research Council.

Rules For Smoking Marijuana in Jamaica

  • The smoking of marijuana in a public space or within 5 metres of public space is prohibited. It is not a criminal offence, therefore you must not be arrested, however, the fine will be issued and expected to be paid in 30 days.

  • Smoke in a privately occupied residence not used for commercial purposes is not an offence. But please note, that it said “not for commercial purposes, which means that resorts and villas are not included in the exemption.

    What are the Public Places? The workplace, sidewalks, bus stops, restaurants, offices, educational institutions, pharmacies, hospitals, and areas designated for children, supermarkets and parks.

  • Smoking of ganja at privately-occupied residences that are not used for commercial purposes is not an offence but is governed by the rules on possession of ganja referred to above.

Can I bring Marijuana back home from vacation in Jamaica with me?

This is a definite no. Never purchase more than you can smoke by yourself or with your group as you will not be able to take the actual plant or a rolled spliff with you. Jamaica has strict drug laws and they are taken very seriously.

So, to answer your question, cannabis is still illegal but it is decriminalized. For more information on the sale and usage of marijuana in Jamaica, contact the Cannabis Licensing Authority

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