Jamaica to Let You Write Your Own Prescription, Buy Medical Marijuana in Airports

Although marijuana is legal only in some states, and for medicinal purposes in more, pot remains illegal under federal law (but where it’s legal there are even loyalty programs with reefer-a-friend bonuses).

You have to clear a federal checkpoint to fly commercial. The TSA (T)akes (S)tinkweed (A)way. The Denver airport even instituted an unconstitutional ban on wearing marijuana t-shirts.

Moreover smelling of pot could be reason to confiscate all your savings (if you happen to be carrying it on you when a fed’s nose is working).

So you cannot fly in the U.S. with weed. Colorado Springs airport installed amnesty boxes so that passengers could leave their weed rather than break the law (free pot for airport employees). There’s a few exceptions though like Portland and Spokane, Washington but only as long as you’re flying intra-state.

There’s a country, however, where weed isn’t just tolerated but actively promoted: Jamaica.

Jamaica officials are working to provide tourists with easy access to marijuana as soon as they step foot onto the island.

… the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) is currently developing plans to install cannabis kiosks inside all airports and seaports that would not only allow travelers to pick up a license to legally use the herb during their visit, but also provide them with a couple of ounces of weed before they head off to the hotel.

Medical marijuana is legal, and without a permit there’s just a fine for up to two ounces. What they’re proposing though isn’t merely reciprocity for those with medical marijuana cards from their home jurisdiction. Instead, passengers that don’t have a prescription “can do what we call ‘self-declare’, and this will allow them to have the two ounces while they are here.” You won’t even need a doctor’s note.

“The thought is that if you are coming out of the airport, there is a kiosk that you can go to,” Lightbourne said. “So basically whoever is coming out of immigration can go to that desk and register and get that clearance.”

Jamaica’s 3 international airports — Kingston, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios — may become a lot more popular.

And the prime beneficiary of this move — besides tourists — could be Caribbean Airlines which not only acquired Air Jamaica in 2011 but could potentially turn the island into a connecting hub.

In fact, while Caribbean gave up its last widebodies in January in favor of a fleet of all Boeing 737s and ATR72s, this could give them a reason to return to long haul service. But IATA will need to up those minimum connection times!


Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 departing from Fort Lauderdale to Jamaica, Copyright: icholakov / 123RF Stock Photo

There’s a certain irony that the War on Drugs appears to be reaching a detente but the War on Water continues apace.

(HT: Mac J.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. lol like you really need a license. Just step off the resort property (or hell maybe not even that!) and you’ll get offered.

  2. It’s about time. My (not terribly sophisticated) uncle was caught purchasing weed in Kingston in the early-1990s, and jailed for several years in a Jamaican prison as a result. He shared needles with other inmates inside, caught HIV, and died of AIDS just a few years later, having never seen his family again.

    I am glad that the war on drugs is basically over. Like all wars, we’ll be counting the human cost for decades.

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