The Rastafari Progressive Movement (RPM) congratulates the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the Rastafari Community and a private investor “Itiopia Life”, on the launching of GROW Antigua, a feasible arrangement, which aids the Rastafari community in starting its journey into the Medical Cannabis Industry on solid ground.
A statement from the government of Antigua and Barbuda said that within the business arrangement of GROW Antigua, it would receive a 24 percent stake in exchange for the use of government lands, another 24 percent would go toward the Rastafarian community that would supply labour, with the remaining 52 percent going to the private company, Itopia Life.
While it is stated that Rastafari will provide the labour within this business framework, Rastafari are more than muscle and will, we are positive, assist in other crucial areas of development of GROW Antigua.
Itopia Life is a fully integrated seed-to-sale company whose operations include cultivation, processing, research and development, retail and a herb house. It carries the Ubuntu philosophy, beautifully represents in their underlying business philosophy. The company’s business philosophy is also reflected in its choice of partners, which include local artisans, the Rastafari Indigenous Village and The University of the West Indies.
Itopia for Life states on its website that “We will thrive and be successful if others are also reaping the benefits of success. Traditional cannabis farmers throughout the Caribbean, especially Rastafarians, have disproportionately suffered over the last 100 years due to draconian cannabis laws. Now that the region is moving towards a regulated industry, it matters to us that these indigenous farmers are part of the process and reap the economic benefits.”
Barbados would do well to take the example set by Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his government along with the philosophy used by Itiopia Life and reform the Barbados Medical Cannabis Industry in a manner that recognizes and respects the traditional medicinal use of cannabis, and within one aspect of Rastafari Reparations, create a framework that equitably includes the Rastafari community in a medical cannabis business arrangement.
Prime Minister Browne at the ceremony to launch GROW Antigua, on the 14th June 2021, said it was a proud occasion for him personally as he has witnessed the Rastafarian community being castigated, for more than 50 years over the use of cannabis.
He went on to say that GROW Antigua will aid in unifying the Rastafarian community with the general public after years of discrimination.
Meanwhile in Barbados Rastafari youth are still being carted off to jail for growing a few cannabis trees and having more than the measly 14 grams of cannabis, which Prime Minister Mia Mottley, and her government have deemed a reasonable amount to be ticked for.
As to date, Prime Minister Mottley has failed to have a meeting with the wider Rastafari community as it relates to just cannabis reform in Barbados under the umbrellas of traditional medicine and sacrament. It continues to put the onus of the Rastafari community in Barbados to fight for their human and constitutional rights within the walls of a legal court room.
The RPM advises Prime Minister Mottley to call off her top lawyers, who she has unleashed on the Rastafari community, as they fight to prove their homes are places of worship, along with their, and all Barbadians right to privacy. In essence the BLP is saying to Barbadians that they had no right to privacy and that the Rastafari home is not a place of worship.
The RPM extends wishes of success to the company, GROW Antigua, the joint initiative between Itopia Life Antigua, the National Asset Management Company (NAMCO) and Rastafari Food For Life (RFFL).
Ras Simba Akoma
Rastafari Progressive Movement/ PRO Public Relations Office
African Heritage Foundation President
Cannabis Barbados President.