Entertainment

Marijuana March

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, April 19, 2014    

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A NUMBER of local artistes are set to show their support for the legalisation of marijuana (ganja) during a march and mass rally set for the Corporate Area tomorrow.

The march, organised by veteran reggae artiste Bunny Wailer's Solomonic Productions and the Rastafari Millennium Council, is aimed at furthering the debate on the legalisation of the weed which is considered a holy sacrament by followers of Rastafari.

The march and motorcade is set to start at 10:00 am from the Mandela Park in Half-Way-Tree to St William Grant Park in the heart of downtown Kingston, before moving on to the Trench Town Culture Park in western Kingston for the rally and presentations.

Among the artistes down to lend their support to the call is Denroy Morgan.

Morgan — best known for his 1981 I'll Do Anything for You and patriarch of sibling group Morgan Heritage — is an advocate for the legalisation.

In 2011, Morgan was arrested and charged with possession of 25 pounds of ganja in the Bronx, New York.

A year later Morgan walked out of a courtroom with a 90-day probation and US$25 court filing fee after successfully arguing that he had no intention of distributing the ganja for profit, but instead bought it for spiritual use.

He told the Jamaica Observer that that experience leaves him no choice but to advocate for the legalisation of ganja.

"I take it from a spiritual perspective. Herb is the most spiritual of all the plants out there and just as how they fight Jesus and Rasta, the herb gets its fair share of fight from the system," he said.

Morgan further stated ganja was always being used for its medicinal and recreational properties and it is the authorities who place it in the category of a drug. He cites this as one of his main reasons for supporting Sunday's march and call for the legalisation of ganja.

"I am not a scientist. But I can speak to the spiritual value, and the value of the herb as a sacrament, so I have no choice but to support this effort by Jah B [Bunny Wailer]. I have to defend it," says Morgan.

He hopes that the march and rally will open the eyes of the Jamaican people and help them to unite behind a common goal.

"I hope this event allows for persons to see that the people advocating for the legalisation of ganja are not drug addicts, but rather people with integrity who can see the positive benefits and come together for the common good," he said.

Among the speakers at the rally will be Professor Charles Nesson from Harvard University, attorney Bert Samuels, Professor Rupert Lewis, as well as representatives of the Rastafari and business communities and the political directorate. The Institute of Cannabis in Brazil will also be represented at the event.

The Ganja Commission, in 2001, recommended that marijuana be decriminalised for personal, medicinal and religious purposes. However, this recommendation is yet to be acted on.

Earlier this year, the American state of Colorado took the bold step of legalising ganja for personal use.

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