Govt urged to secure share of international ganja market
NEGRIL, Westmoreland -- President of the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association Ras Iyah is urging the Government to "align" with other countries to secure a slice of the international marijuana market.
"I think the Government of Jamaica has a duty and responsibility to align themselves with other countries, because I know there are other countries, here in the Caribbean, in Latin America...that are against this big stick that America has over our heads that says 'you can do what I say but not what I do'," he argued.
According to Ras Iyah: "Unity is strength, and as such whether from a regional bloc or from a point of view, that we...make sure that we become strengthen in such a way that we have a say on the international political field," Ras Iyah stated. "Otherwise we will always have to succumb to the big stick that America has over our heads."
He accused the US of using state laws as a smokescreen to stifle the emerging ganja industry in Third World countries while promoting theirs.
"I know that the United States of America is using state laws as a guise to develop their cannabis industry and at the same time to fight against Third World countries development. I don't think the State would have been doing what they want if the Federal Government was not in league with it...without some form of backing," the veteran ganja advocate charged.
He was speaking on day one of the two-day Beckley Foundation Conference on Jamaica's Cannabis Reforms at the Swept Away Resort in Negril, Westmoreland, last Friday.
Meanwhile, Dr Kathy-Ann Brown, deputy solicitor general in the Attorney General's Chamber brought to the fore, international conventions and financial policies challenging the international cannabis industry.
"On the one hand you have conventions dealing with international cooperation to fight money laundering and anything dealing with financial crimes and cannabis/ ganja being treated as something which once you deal with it, if it is not for medical or financial purposes its basically something which is bad money. So how do you apply a regime in conflicting rules because bad money mixes with good?" Dr Brown questioned.
Meanwhile, Ras Iyah noted that while Rastafarians owe no international obligation to the International Narcotic Board, they are willing to support the Government.
"...at the end of the day whether we want it or don't want it, there are certain rules and regulations that we must abide by simply, because Jamaica has been so mismanaged that we no longer control our destiny. IMF run Jamaica, the World Bank run Jamaica in ways as if we are just a puppet," the Rastafarian said.
The 'Ganja Law' or 'Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act 2015', was passed by both Houses of Parliament in February this year.
The changes to the Act allows possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a non-arrestable, ticketable offence, that attracts no criminal record.
Jamaica is now in the process of establishing a legal cannabis industry comprising two product streams namely: industrial hemp amd medical marijuana.