Jamaican Law Enforcement vis a vis Ganja

A recent Travel Channel documentary made it quite clear that all forms of marijuana are quite illegal in Jamaica, and that American cruise ship passengers looking for a high might get a visit to a Jamaican jail.

Except for the fact that another Trvael Channel documentary showed an American tourist visiting Bob Marley’s home and being offered a toke, right there on camera in front of God and everybody, in Bob’s honor.

So what’s the scoop? Does Jamaican law enforcement tend to look the other way at Ganja being smoked? Are there exceptions for genuine (instead of wannabe) Rastas?

My experience, albeit 16 years ago, is that you are offered it from loads of people at every turn, and that law enforcement isn’t all that pervasive (which is not to say they look the other way). As long as you don’t do anything stupid, you could spend your whole time there high with no worries. Negril is probably the most laid back about it.

Do you know what Jamaica’s crime rate is? It’s pretty high. I think it’s not that it’s allowed so much as that when your murder rate is the third highest in the world, your police aren’t going to spend most of their effort on stopping somebody from toking up. The police are just overwhelmed.

I went on a Carnival cruise almost a decade ago and it stopped in Jamaica. My wife and I were on a cruise tour and we had to leave the little shopping center we were at to go to a bank to pick up cash. There was an entry point into the shopping center that had two cops guarding it. As we passed them to go to the bank (probably a block away, IIRC) one of the cops asked if we wanted some ganja. I didn’t quite catch it the first time so I stopped and said ‘did you say something?’. The cop repeated it and made a point to say something like ‘you know, marijuana’.

I declined - not because I didn’t smoke (at the time I did) - but because it freaked me out. I didn’t want to buy from this guy and then be promptly arrested.

I didn’t smoke at all during my cruise, as an FYI.