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Jamaica moves to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

Contrary to popular belief, Jamaica does indeed have marijuana laws. But those laws are about to get as relaxed as the Rastafari.

Jamaican government officials said Thursday that the country is planning to drastically revamp its weed laws by moving to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and allowing possession for scientific, religious, and medicinal uses.

Under the cabinet's proposed changes, the possession of no more than two ounces (57 grams) of pot would become a petty offense resulting in a fine, but not a criminal arrest.

The new rules are a "major victory" for the country's Rastafari, who smoke marijuana as a sacrament, and have always faced the threat of prosecution for doing so.

However, Justice Minister Mark Golding noted that he doesn't want Jamaica to become the next Colorado. "I wish to stress that the proposed changes to the law are not intended to promote or give a stamp of approval to the use of ganja for recreational purposes," he said. "The objective is to provide a more enlightened approach to dealing with possession of small quantities."