GOOD NEWS JAMAICA: US committee approves Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Delano Seiveright (right) in discussion with Parliamentarian Mark Golding.

The United States of America Congressional Judiciary Committee approved a landmark bill Wednesday that would decriminalize and tax marijuana on the federal level⁠. This represents yet another significant step in global cannabis liberalisation efforts.

Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority Director and Cannabis Law Reform Advocate, Delano Seiveright reacted to the news.

“Whilst it still is a very rocky road ahead it again signals that the US at the federal level is getting closer and closer to real change and as a consequence open up opportunities for countries like Jamaica to better position our nascent medical, therapeutic and scientific cannabis industry,” he said.

“Let us not forget that just two months ago, we saw the successful passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act in the US House of Representatives, which seeks to amend US federal law so that banks and other financial institutions can work directly with state-legal cannabis businesses,” he added.

On September 25, United States Congressmen and women voted a whopping 321 to 103 in favour of HR 1595: the SAFE Banking Act with nearly unanimous support from Democrats, as well as about half of all Republicans. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday (Nov 20) voted 24-10 to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, or MORE, which would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, where it’s now banned alongside powerful drugs like heroin and LSD. The bill would require federal courts to expunge convictions for marijuana offences and authorize a 5 per cent tax on marijuana sales to encourage minority communities to enter the cannabis business.

Seiveright noted: “The issues of cannabis classification at the US federal level and the lack of access to banking for legal cannabis businesses represents a juggernaut for many in the legal industry globally and particularly in Jamaica where our legal cannabis industry is literally being stifled. This is limiting growth of the sector, down pressing job creation and restricting agricultural development and consequently inhibiting the development of rural communities and the Jamaican economy in general.”