Grange says Gov’t working to ensure Rastafari community benefits from cannabis industry
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, says the government is working to ensure that more members of the Rastafari community can benefit from the growing cannabis industry.
According to a release on Monday, the minister was addressing the CanEx Jamaica Business Conference and Expo in Montego Bay on Saturday, where she said the government was redrawing the Alternative Development Programme to assist original farmers to gain full access to the new industry. Grange said it was the hope that the redesigned programme—ADP 2.0, to be rolled out soon by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce—would “be a better way for the formerly illicit farmers to be part of the legal industry.”
Grange also praised the Ministry of Justice for recently promulgating the Dangerous Drugs (Designation of Land for Cultivation of Ganja for Sacramental Purposes) (Amendment) Order, 2023. The Order has reportedly recognised 57 Sacramental Spaces where the Rastafari community can grow cannabis for use for religious purposes without having to conform to the other conditions of growers in the industry. According to Minister Grange, this “seemingly small but significant Order has been able to integrate Rastafari more generally into the cannabis industry.”
The minister said the Rastafari community “must be given due respect on every occasion where cannabis is the focus of discussion and development” and that she would take “an even more active role in discussing and representing the rights of the cultural movement that is a foundation of the legalisation of cannabis in Jamaica.”
In this regard, Grange is advocating for an amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act 2015 to list the Ministry of Culture as a participant in discussions surrounding development of subsidiary legislation governing the use of ganja as a religious sacrament.
The minister also wants to change the name of the Dangerous Drugs Act. “I think the name ‘Cannabis Industry Regulation Act’ would be better to cover our new Jamaican industry and promote its growth for the benefit of Jamaica and its people.”
The minister welcomed the development of new products for the expansion of the legal cannabis industry.