Jamaica Celebrates Bob Marley’s 70th Birthday By Legalizing “It”
The legislature in Jamaica on Friday reduced the criminal sentence for possession or 2 ounces or less from jail time to just a ticket. Coincidentally, or maybe not so much, the rule change came on the would-be 70th birthday of one the the country's most out-spoken advocates of the positive effects of ganja.
Bob Marley used his music to popularize his message, angering the very government that tried to use his image for everything from tourism to keeping internal peace. Marley was famously middle-of-the-road politically, supporting neither the party in power, nor the resistance, unless the two were at least appearing cooperative. But he was loudly in favor of legalizing the marijuana that gave so many of his countrymen peace and vision in religious ceremonies.
I've travelled to Jamaica many times, and the one unifying factor among all of the locals is that the use of marijuana is as healthy for you as it is illegal. It created a lot of animosity between the people and it's government.
With the rule change a possession of 2-ounces or less, previously an arrest and court appearance, now will be a ticket and fine. It's a great victory in the long battle Marley and those after him have long-fought. There is a long way to go, but a great first-step to keeping the jails less crowded, and the population less irritated.
For Marley himself, who passed away in 1981, Redemption indeed.