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It's Peter Tosh Day

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

THE date 4/20, globally recognised as the day for the celebration and appreciation of marijuana, has been renamed International Peter Tosh Day in tribute to the Jamaican reggae music icon, activist and advocate.

Celebrated internationally on April 20, the date has been set aside to recognise the benefits of marijuana and forward advocacy for its legalisation in various jurisdictions.

Head of the Peter Tosh Foundation and administrator of the Peter Tosh estate, Niambe McIntosh, the artistes's youngest child, is overjoyed at this latest move which she said advances her late father's call for legalisation.

“This definitely says so much about the work that my father did and will go a far way in continuing the struggle. The day, 4/20, has always been a day to celebrate marijuana, ganja, cannabis, weed, herb... whatever you call it. When you look at it like that, we really could not celebrate without looking at the experiences of my father who sacrificed, worked, sang anthems about it and was, in many ways, a pioneer in bringing marijuana to the forefront,” she told the Jamaica Observer during an interview from her base in the United States.

The Peter Tosh estate and its partners have organised a full slate of activities to mark today's observations, which will be streamed across various social media platforms with the hope of engaging audiences to share and discuss all matters relating to marijuana. Among the stakeholders set to participate in the various fora are marijuana growers and distributors, policymakers, artistes, medical professionals and other enthusiasts.

“Throughout the day we will be on Facebook Live [and] a number of other social media platforms, including the discussion app Clubhouse where fans and influencers can share in the discussions and just exchange concerns and means to push the movement forward,” said McIntosh.

Like her father, McIntosh has taken on a number of the causes which champion equal rights and justice for all, and the move to legalise ganja in Jamaica and elsewhere. In a previous interview with the Observer she explained that the work started by her father was pretty much in her spirit and physical make-up.

“In his time he faced police brutality, was arrested numerous times, but his fight for justice was an everyday thing. So now, we must carry on that push for justice...speak out where we see injustice taking place . It's what my father would want. He was able to advocate through his music, as an educator I have a voice and a platform so I use it to speak up and work towards that change that we so desperately seek...It's in my DNA,” she explained.

And what would her father think of the latest accolade?

“He had already claimed it. I have seen interviews with him speaking to this day, so he claimed it years ago. But at the same time, I know he would be pleased.” McIntosh noted.

McIntosh was five years old when her father was murdered inside his St Andrew home on September 11, 1987.

Tosh came to prominence as a member of The Wailers along with Bunny Wailer and Bob Marley. He would carve out an esteemed path for himself as a solo artiste through his militant stance against social ills and for concerns such as nuclear disarmament and the legalisation of ganja.