In an article entitled “Rastas want to reap sweets too”, published on the 15th December, 2020, in the “Daily Nation” newspaper, Mr. Rollins Howard would have the people of Barbados believe that the Rastafari community’s position on cannabis legalization was strictly spiritual (sacramental).
He further in the article referred to articles he had written, that were published in both the Nation and the Advocate newspapers which suggested that the impending Barbadian cannabis industry, and its relevant laws, were purely based on financial gain. I have no issue with Mr. Rollins with his analysis of the Barbados medical cannabis industry.
However the front page Nation news headlines that spoke to the Rastafari community being left out of the Barbados medical cannabis industry, seems to have left Mr. Rollins with the notion that I and my community are on the same train as the politicians, business people and others who want to cash in on the “Green Rush”. This is where I felt the need to bring a little clarity to Mr. Rollins and the readers who may have been misguided by his writings.
Firstly Mr. Rollin, cannabis has been an economic main stay for many in the Rastafari community for decades. The cannabis trade within Rasatarfi has sent many a child to school, fed many a family and provided shelter for a lot of Rastafari brothers and sisters. The popular Jamaican classic “The Harder They Come” starting Jimmy Cliff, captures the reality of this fact. In fact in the late 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, Rastafari was mostly responsible for the trade of cannabis in Barbados. So much so, it is because of this fact, many brothers and sisters have lost their lives, faced incarceration and paid hefty fines for their participation in the cannabis trade. Brothers and sisters still sit in prison today due to their trading in cannabis.
Pedro, ganja trader in ” The Harder They Come”.
We now have a situation where the government, business people and international investors will now been involved in the same trade of cannabis, without regard to those who paved the way with their blood sweat and tears. Rastafari seeks justice and reparations for these people and their families.
Secondly I have advocated at the highest levels I have been allowed to speak in, for the inclusion of the traditional use of cannabis within the medical cannabis industry. If the traditional use of cannabis is not included in the Barbados medical cannabis industry framework, then Rastafari, practitioners of holistic medicine, and those of us who believe in the goodness of herbal home medicine, have been left out. We want in!
Finally, I as a Rastafari man am representing my community in the courts of law challenging the Attorney General, and by extension the government due to their sacrament act that does not respect, or recognize the Rastafari home as a place of worship, thus not allowing us to cultivate the plant in the privacy of our homes for its use in this regard.
When Rastafari says they have been left out of the Barbados medical cannabis industry, it simply means we want access to our cannabis for spiritual, medicinal and economic purposes. Money is not the lure here Mr. Rollins, justice is. If money is to be made for the Rastafari community from cannabis justice in Barbados, so be it.
Ras Simba and the Attorney General of Barbados Dale Marshall
“Knowing that material and spiritual progress are essential to man, we must ceaselessly work for the equal attainment of both. Only then shall we be able to acquire that absolute inner calm so necessary to our well-being. Whenever conflict arises between material and spiritual values, the conscience plays an important role and anyone who suffers from a guilty conscience is never really free from this problem until he makes peace with himself and his conscience.” Haile Sealssie I.
Paul Rock ( Ras Simba)
Fundraiser in aid of establishing a Rastafari quarterly newspaper.