The People’s National Party has congratulated the Portia Simpson-Miller Administration for the “brave, bold and correct” decision to amend what it calls the outdated Dangerous Drugs Act of 1948.

The 2015 amendments which were passed in the House of Representatives yesterday after a marathon debate seeing more than 12 contributions from both sides of the aisle, among other things, establishes a legal and formal framework from which a legitimate Cannabis (Ganja) Industry may be developed in Jamaica, the PNP reports.

The Bill also provides recognition to the Rastafari Faith and entirely decriminalises the use of ganja as a sacrament in pursuit of their faith by Jamaicans adherent to Rastafari.

In his contribution to the debate, National Security Minister Peter Bunting advised the House that the changes in approach by law enforcement agencies since mid last year have already provided demonstrable improvements in the island’s major crime statistics.

He expressed the further view that yesterday’s amendments will further reduce conflicts between citizens and the security forces simply from the decriminalisation of possession of small quantities of ganja.

Science and Technology Minister Phillip Paulwell was very clear as he, along with Industry Minister Anthony Hylton and Tourism Minister Wykeham McNeill, underscored the opportunities which can now be derived to the Jamaican economy through additional research and development in a range of activities. These include medical research, industrial hemp and medical tourism.