Thursday 22 October, 2020

Ras Simba wants AG to allow ganja use for all

President of the African Heritage Foundation (AHF) Paul ‘Ras Simba’ Rock has said he refuses to be swayed by the announcement made by Attorney General, Dale Marshall, which will see Rastafarians be granted approval for cannabis use.

Earlier this week in the House of Parliament, the AG said legislation is being drafted to allow sacramental use of cannabis, however Ras Simba said the proposal “does not change anything” and the plans to bring a court case against government still stand.

He noted “Rastafari has always been the champion of the people” and the AHF will continue to fight for those who have been “disadvantaged by cannabis laws” in Barbados.

He said the court case will be asking government to pass legislation to allow for the adult use of cannabis and will also be seeking compensation for those persons who were incarcerated for possession and use of marijuana.

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He also argued that to allow for only the religious use of cannabis will cast a divide between Rastafarians and the rest of the country’s citizens who use the plant.

“If you let go the Rastafari and leave the other people as criminals, you know what is going to happen? You are turning people against one another.

"If you check Antigua, when Prime Minister Gaston Browne did this same thing for Rastafari, they were attacked by the people. In my estimation, if you are going to free Rastafari you have to free the people- one doesn’t come without the next. We will always champion the rights of the people.”

He added, despite the public perception on cannabis, use should not be prohibited for anyone.

“No matter what anybody thinks, it is a human right guaranteed to all, including Rastafari, and you just have to live with it.”

Ras Simba issued a warning to the AG to “get this thing straight” noting the “hour will soon be at hand” when legal proceedings commence. The AHF and other members of the Rastafarian community will be represented by attorney, Douglas Trotman.

The ganja advocate also said the Rastafarian community, particularly the Ivine Order of the Nyabinghi Theocracy Reign, should be included in the drafting of the legislation for sacramental use. On Tuesday last week, the group presented the Prime Minister, Mia Mottley with a position paper calling for certain provisions to be made for religious use of the plant. 

"The Medical Cannabis Bill 2019 makes no provision for the use of the cannabis plant within a cultural, traditional and indigenous context. As such it has downgraded the place of humanity to a secondary position, while hoisting economics to the first position and consideration as it pertains to cannabis," the document noted. 


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