A member of the Rastafarian community today recommended “a regular cup of ganja tea be given to our politicians” to help them run the country.
At the same time, Ras Jahipe bemoaned Government’s continued refusal to decriminalize marijuana, saying Barbados was falling behind the rest of the world which had recognized the economic benefits of ganja.
“Marijuana is nothing new to us. When we were in Africa we make so much different things out of marijuana, and these people running behind time. In Germany today they are making clothes, they are making all kinds of different [things], and we still behind time,” the outspoken Rastafarian said in an impassioned statement this morning at a symposium on marijuana.
He charged that Barbados was afraid of falling out of favour with the United States where it is illegal under federal law to use, possess, sell, cultivate, or transport cannabis, but where four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized recreational, as well as medical, marijuana for adults and another 20 have legalized medical marijuana.
He contended that a fear of sanctions had led Government to “oppress” Barbadians who chose to use pot.
“Some man would die under the hands of one another in de streets over the little ganja; some man would die under the hands of the law enforcement agency, and don’t say it ain’t happen, it happens,” he told the audience.
“Some people will get tossed in a mental institution, never to catch themselves again. I know a brethren already that get [sent there] for a little spliff. He was tossed years ago, over 30 years ago, into the psychiatric hospital. Today he still a subject of the state. They still coming for he and pumping he and making he a jumbie. This is ridiculous; totally ridiculous.”
The symposium, held under the theme, Marijuana: Perpetual Problem Or Potential Problem Solver For Barbados, was hosted by the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Among the notable absentees was Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite, who has said on a number of occasions that while he did not like seeing young people turned into criminals for the use of small amounts of marijuana, consideration had to be given to the potential effects of decriminalization before any decision was made on the matter.
The Rastafarian was upset at Brathwaite’s absence, describing it as “a cowardly act”.
“This ain’t the first time the Attorney General been invited. We in the St Philip South constituency who he represents, we hold discussions years ago and invite him . . . . This is a cowardly act of the Attorney General,” he said. (MCW)