Commentary Jamaica Magazine

Change Jamaica’s Drug Policy

Suppose another country had almost no drug problems. Suppose that country had less than a small fraction of one percent of your drug arrests. And suppose that country had almost no “drug-related crime” and that their robbery rate was a tiny fraction of your robbery rate.

Do you think is might be wise to carefully observe that other country’s drug policy and that Jamaica should copy that other country’s drug policy?

Well, there is such a country: The Czech Republic.

The Czech Republic is the only country in the world where adult citizens can legally use, possess and grow small quantities of marijuana. (In the Netherlands, marijuana is quasi-legal – not officially legal.)

The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 population. The United States’ overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000 population.

The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000 population. The United States’ robbery rate is 145.9 per 100,000 population, according to our FBI.

According to the drug war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause people to use other, much more dangerous drugs, like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin. Obviously, this doesn’t happen in the Czech Republic.

Why not?

Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other recreational drugs?

Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock to hard drug use – not a gateway?

Could it be that the vast majority our so-called “drug-related crime” is caused by marijuana prohibition policies?

Suppose Jamaican adults could purchase marijuana in licensed business establishments or grow their own and this resulted in higher rates of marijuana use. Suppose this policy resulted in dramatically lower use rates of hard drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.

Suppose this policy eliminated almost all “drug-related crime” in Jamaica.

Would the citizens of Jamaica be much better off with this policy?
Would the citizens of the world be much better off with this policy?


Source for the 145.9 robberies per 100,000 population
statistic is from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2002 final

Source for the Czech Republic’s marijuana legalization
policy: “A Czech Toke on Freedom,” by Jeffrey Fleishman in the
Los Angeles Times, Jan. 24 2006.,0,7449540.story

Source for Czech crime rate statistics:
(Scroll to bottom of the page).

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