Jamaica. Caribbean nations are getting increasingly concerned about the reasons why their politicians are still refusing to legalize cannabis, or 'ganja' as it is called locally. Cannabis arrests are a huge source of tension between the local police and the young community, particularly young men under 30. Community leaders have pointed out that the only reason ganja is illegal is because the USA wants it to be. The cost to Jamaican society is high, many young Jamaican men are being criminalized each year for small-scale possession of cannabis. The criminal records prevent these men from getting jobs, homes and places in higher education. Meanwhile American teenagers are increasingly protected from the police thanks to the wave of state legalizations.
The calls for Jamaica to finally legalize cannabis are getting louder, with the mainstream press as well as the local justice representatives all claiming that legalization benefits everyone. It seems strange to the Jamaican public that everyone including the Jamaican police see the logic in legalizing cannabis yet local law-makers are still afraid of USA reaction, despite the fact that the USA legalization process is now well under way
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