Saturday 23 March, 2019

Rastas bring reasons to legalise marijuana

The Rastafarian community was well represented during the Regional Marijuana Commission.

The Rastafarian community was well represented during the Regional Marijuana Commission.

There was a resounding amount of support for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana during a town hall meeting of the CARICOM Regional Marijuana Commission on Wednesday night.

The Commission, established by the CARICOM Heads of Government in 2014, is being used to compile a report based on recommendations from all member countries so as to guide a decision on the way forward for marijuana use.

The Barbadian Rastafarian community came out in their numbers for the discussion, contributing a wealth of information about the pros of marijuana use including the medicinal and economic benefits of the plant.

Veteran calypsonian, Adonijah, gave his two cents during the discussion, calling for the legalization of marijuana, in addition to urging the government to implement a moratorium on ganja-related arrests while the regional heads of government make a decision on the next steps.

Adonijah said the Rastafarian community has been persecuted for years by law enforcement and the courts for marijuana use, even going so far as to call arrests "terrorism". 

“What I would like to see is a situation where I am in my house at 1 o’clock in the morning and somebody come and break down my door because I smoking a plant. Makes no sense to me. There is something fundamentally nonsensical about the situation where you can be at home, harming no home and somebody has the right to come and carry you away for using a plant. As far as I am concerned, [it is] state sponsored terrorism as far as Rastafari especially is concerned.”

He said it was time for the Government of Barbados to consult the “real experts” on marijuana and elevate them to a position to manage and cultivate the substance. 

 “I and I have borne the brunt of the pain for all these years and it must not happen, as it has happened in Jamaica now, that when we inevitably move in the way of legalization, we don’t want see certain people that have big pockets of land coming in and buying over the whole thing and we working for somebody.”

Rastafarians were not the only ones in favour of the marijuana use being legalised. Members of the Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS) were also in attendance at the town hall meeting to advocate for the use of medical marijuana. Some shared experiences on the trials of the disease and the ways in which marijuana, the tea specifically, assisted them in managing pain.

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