Rastas want in on ganja talks

Two elders in the Rastafari Progressive Movement are calling for Rastas to be included in the conversations surrounding the medicinal cannabis industry. Both Bongo Lights and Lumumba Batson said this should not be even up for debate given the persecution those in the Rastafarian community have faced over the years for cultivating and using the plant. “Right now, Rastas could have been an industry in and of itself,” Batson said. “You owe us reparations because of what we went through. Now you making medicinal marijuana, and you making profit [from] it, but look at how many of us suffered and still in prison because of that. So these are issues we have to deal with,” he added. The elders were speaking ahead of a gathering including other senior members of the community on March 24, where they will discuss plans for the future of Rastafarians in Barbados. In an interview on Friday, they spoke on several challenges facing Rastas, chief of which was being “cut out” of the medicinal marijuana drive.

“All marijuana is medicinal but they used that term for the Government to make profit. They are still locking people up for marijuana. How are you going to be locking up people and you got an industry running in your country, a legal industry?

“What you’re saying is certain people can grow marijuana but certain people can’t; that’s the message that you’re sending out. Only thing changed is rich people making money and poor people still in the same position,” Batson lamented.

Bongo Lights said the country remained regressive in dealing with matters which concerned Rastafarians.

“You can’t even grow a tree or two in the yard. Free up the weed. That way, Rasta can grow his own thing.

“Other people from overseas get their licences and they can plant, and we that poor and don’t have the money, don’t have the fair chance. We should at least have the freedom to grow without a licence,” he said.


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