In a move that is sure to score big with the masses, Justice Minister Mark Golding has signed an order to expunge at least some marijuana convictions.
Thousands of Jamaicans have had their progress retarded by an age old law that criminalised even small marijuana (ganja) possession. Ever since the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of ganja (2 ounces or less), it was only a matter of time before the expungement. This is facilitated through the the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Act, 2014.
The order became effective on July 9, 2015.
This move is sure to endear the ruling People’s National Party (PNP) government in the hearts of many, especially the young. This pardon will help many persons get a second chance in life. Marijuana convictions and its ensuing criminal record (for even the smallest quantities), has held back numerous persons over the years.
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, has signed the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Automatic Expungement of Convictions) Order 2015 to enshrine in law the administrative procedure which has been established for the expungement of past convictions for smoking ganja, possession of ganja where the sentence imposed was a fine not exceeding J$1,000, and possession of pipes or other utensils used in connection with smoking of ganja.
These arrangements are authorised by the automatic expungement provisions introduced by the Criminal Records (Rehabilitation of Offenders) (Amendment) Act, 2014.
The application can be made at the Criminal Records Office, 34 Duke Street, Kingston, the Summit Police Station (St James), May Pen Police Station (Clarendon), Area 2 Police Headquarters and Pompano Bay Police Station (St Mary).
By way of a separate arrangement, a person’s criminal record of any such conviction will be expunged once the person’s fingerprints are taken at any parish divisional headquarters of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). Where a conviction has been expunged via this arrangement as a result of the person’s fingerprints being taken, the Order requires the criminal records.
These special expungement arrangements will enable people with these ganja offences on their record to rid themselves of that blight, thereby assisting them to seek employment and travel opportunities which were previously unattainable due to their criminal record.