The Minister for Culture, Gender, Recreation and Sports, Olivia Grange, has expressed disappointment that Rastafarians are not benefiting sufficiently from the country’s cannabis industry.
She expressed her disappointment as the CanEx Business Conference and Expo kicked off Friday, which took place at the Montego Bay Convention Center in St. James and was attended by local and international growers and manufacturers of cannabis by-products.
According to the Minister of Culture, awards should be given to the Rastafari movement to grow, protect and preserve marijuana for its cultural, medicinal and therapeutic uses.
In an effort to preserve and protect marijuana, which has now turned into a global multibillion dollar industry, many members of the Rastafarian community have suffered harsh retaliation for promoting illegal activity.
“My department, the Ministry of Culture, is the focal point of the Rasta, and we are not convinced that the Rastafari community benefits from all of this,” Grange said of the country’s cannabis industry.
“That’s the essence of compensation, 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 said.
She noted that the exclusion of the Rastafarian community occurs even after significant amendments in 2015 to the Dangerous Drugs Act.
“After seven years of amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, we are still struggling to create a strong and thriving cannabis industry in Jamaica, which would bring revenue to families, businesses and the government,” she said.