Rastafari Rootz Fest to provide info on cannabis sector

Observer staff reporter

Friday, December 14, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Ganja expert Ras Iyah V, a member of the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) says Jamaica should not miss the opportunity to forge a deal to supply medical marijuana to Canada which will be faced with a shortage after satisfying their international market obligations.

“I want our people to know that because right now Canada has a foreign market that they have to supply, they don't have enough herbs (marijuana). It is similar to how we produce sugar here but we have a market that we have a contract to supply and sometimes after we supply we buy back sugar. The same thing is now going on with Canada. So there is a lot of opportunities here where the Canadian market is concerned,” Ras Iyah V argued.

The Rastafarian disclosed that during a recent trip to Canada where he met with stakeholders in the cannabis sector, there were great expressions for the demand of the Jamaican-grown cannabis.

But, he was quick to point out that it is very important for local farmers to know the standards that are required and how the plants should be grown to satisfy the international market.

He disclosed that informative seminars featuring knowledgeable speakers which will highlight Rastafari Rootz Fest, to be staged at Long Bay Beach Park in Negril, between December 14 to December 16, will provide the perfect platform to offer holistic information on the burgeoning cannabis industry. He is one of the chief organisers of Rastafari Rootz Fest.

“But then again it is very important for our people to know what are the standards that are required how things must be grown, how it must be produced in order to access the Canadian market. But there are millions wanting to meet the right people in Jamaica that they can invest with. There are people out there who know the history of Jamaica's involvement with Rastafari and cannabis and so our people should be prepared.”

He noted that he is mindful of the concerns among the common man and members of the Rastafarian community who have for years been persecuted for growing the weed, who believe that big business enterprises will benefit from the burgeoning cannabis industry and they will be sidelined.

“Most people see it that only rich people will take over the industry but there is a role for grass-roots people and encourage them to be there on the board in association with other individuals. We have been calling for the rights of other Rastafari people to participate in the industry. Some special provision needs to be made in order that grass-roots people who suffered for it can participate,” Ras Iyah V said.

Consequently, the CLA board member is calling on Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw to attend the Rastafari Roots Fest over the weekend to inform grass-roots ganja farmers on what are Government's plans to include them in the sector.

“So we are calling on Minister Shaw and Minister Hutchinson and other members of MICA from the agriculture department to be present at Rootz Fest so that they can talk to grass-roots farmers and they can talk to the Rastafarian community about what type of programme is there in order for these people to participate in the industry because it cannot be that these are the people who kept the industry alive and now things are legalised and then they cannot participate because they simply don't have the cash,” Iyah V stated.

He added that the government ministers have been invited to attend the event.

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