Rastafarians are not adequately benefitting from Jamaica’s developing cannabis industry claims Olivia Grange, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports.
She announced her disappointment at Friday’s staging of the CanEx Business Conference and Expo, at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James, and attended by local and international farmers and manufacturers of cannabis by-products.
According to Grange, accolades must be given to the Rastafarian movement for cultivating, safeguarding and preserving marijuana for its cultural, medicinal and therapeutic uses.
In seeking to preserve and safeguard marijuana, which has now morphed into a global multibillion-dollar industry, many members of the Rastafarian community suffered harsh retaliation for promoting an activity which was illegal.
“My ministry, the Ministry of Culture, is the focal point for Rasta, and we are not satisfied that the Rastafari community is benefitting from all of this,” Grange said of the country’s cannabis industry.
“This is the substance of reparation, they suffered for it. Whatever we do, we must repair the damage by making sure they also benefit from the fruits of their labour.”
She noted that the exclusion of the Rastafarian community is taking place even after significant amendments in 2015 to the Dangerous Drugs Act.
“Seven years after the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, we are still struggling to establish a solid, thriving, globally-acclaimed cannabis industry in Jamaica, which would bring revenues to households, companies and the government,” she said.