Rastafarian movement holds ganja rally

The Rasta­far­i­an move­ment in T&T will soon hand over a Po­si­tion Pa­per to the Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al.

The doc­u­ment, ac­cord­ing to ac­tivist and med­ical doc­tor, Dr An­tho­ny Pot­tinger is cur­rent­ly in its work­ing stages.

Speak­ing on CNC3 The Morn­ing Brew yes­ter­day, Pot­tinger ex­plained that it is a draft pol­i­cy that is “go­ing to lay out clear­ly the dif­fer­ent steps that we can take to­wards de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion. First, look­ing at what has hap­pened in Ja­maica, where Ja­maica has tak­en its first step in de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion but we have to look fur­ther in the Cana­di­an mod­el and talk about le­gal­i­sa­tion.”

“In Cana­da they will of­fi­cial­ly le­galise on Oc­to­ber 18 in all its form. When we talk about de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion, pro­hi­bi­tion is not end­ed it means I can still be ar­rest­ed and charged for pos­ses­sion so what we are say­ing is that we have to even­tu­al­ly move to­wards be­cause this is the on­ly way we would be able to free up this par­tic­u­lar plant,” he added.

Pot­tinger al­so dis­closed that the draft was al­so re­quest­ed by the At­tor­ney Gen­er­al. “This Cannabis, we can max­imise the use and ben­e­fit of it from an eco­nom­i­cal and oth­er so­cial stand­points,” he said.

A Na­tion­al Cannabis Ral­ly will be held at Wood­ford Square in Port-of-Spain on Sun­day at 10 am.

At­tor­ney Jesse Daniel said the ral­ly will be the be­gin­ning of an ed­u­ca­tion­al pro­gramme on the eco­nom­ic, med­ical, recre­ation­al and sacra­men­tal im­por­tance of Cannabis.

He added that since Prime Min­is­ter (PM) Dr Kei­th Row­ley has agreed to take steps and to be­gin con­sul­ta­tions and dis­cus­sions with re­gards to de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion, he is call­ing for the tem­po­rary sus­pen­sion on the ban of mar­i­jua­na.

“I think it is on the ba­sis that Heads of Cari­com have tak­en a de­ci­sion to look at this that the Prime Min­is­ter has agreed to take steps. But, we want to en­sure that it does not be­come lip ser­vice,” Daniel said.

“So, it is time that if it is that the PM is se­ri­ous, he needs to take steps to show good faith and that he is not go­ing to use it as a po­lit­i­cal foot­ball and one of the things that he can do is tem­porar­i­ly sus­pend this pro­hi­bi­tion of mar­i­jua­na un­til such time that we can have a prop­er con­ver­sa­tion as to how this thing can be rolled out,” he added.

Pot­tinger said he be­lieves that the on­ly way the ac­tivists and all those for the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion and le­gal­i­sa­tion of mar­i­jua­na can re­al­ly force the hand of the Gov­ern­ment is by keep­ing the mo­men­tum.

“We have to keep the pres­sure and this is, sim­ply, not just a one-off ral­ly where peo­ple will come and smoke and get high…we not go­ing to say it is just a group of pot­heads that come to­geth­er…No! This is about ed­u­ca­tion and sen­si­ti­za­tion,” Pot­tinger said.

The ral­ly is host­ed by the All Man­sions of Rasta­fari, which con­sists of var­i­ous groups in­clud­ing 12 Tribes of Is­rael, Nyab­hin­gi, Bobo Shan­ti and African Uni­ty.

They will seek to mo­bilise sup­port to have the laws changed to de­crim­i­nal­ize the use of cannabis, which is said to have a “spir­i­tu­al” sig­nif­i­cance to Rasta­far­i­ans.

It al­so is aim­ing to broad­en the dis­cus­sion to fo­cus on the med­i­c­i­nal, agri­cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic ben­e­fits that can be ac­crued from wider pro­duc­tion.

Fea­tured speak­ers for the ral­ly are: Ja­maica’s Cannabis Pi­o­neer, Ras Iyah V; Ja­maica’s Cannabis Li­cense Au­thor­i­ty, An­nette Hen­ry; Cana­da’s Cannabis Con­sul­tant, Olivia Brown; TT’s med­ical doc­tor Dr An­tho­ny Pot­tinger; TT’s UWI Dean Pro­fes­sor Rose-Marie Belle An­toine; TT’s Cannabis ex­pert, Bon­go Zak; TT’s So­ci­ol­o­gist Dr Tye­him­ba Sa­landy; TT’s Or­gan­ic Cul­ti­va­tor, Bon­go Or­gan­ic and TT’s Crim­i­nol­o­gist Dar­ius Figueira.

Some of the lo­cal artistes booked for this event are Mar­lon Ash­er, Queen Omega, Prophet Ben­jamin, Isas­ha, King David, Malay­kee LH and The Writer.

- by Rhondor Dowlat

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