Letter to Editor
From Concerned Rastafari
Stop Arresting Rastafari For Possession Of Cannabis
Unless this is the way the Government wants their policy to operate, Rastafari are the only persons in the Cannabis trade who continue to be picked up police, their belongings ransacked, and whatever holy herb, weed, cannabis or ganga found in their possession, Rastafari are taken to the police station where in some situations, depending on who turns up at the station, bail may be given, and if not they are held until the next Court date.
Since the laws pertaining to farming and trade in Cannabis was preceded by a law designed to comfort Rastafari, where four trees and 14 oz of cannabis became law, it would be expected that transporting the harvest from one place to another would form part of the law.
However, whereas there are now several licensed cannabis farmers operating on the island, and two or more crops have been harvested, none of them have ever been picked up by police, even by mistake.
Discussion with the police at the St. John’s Police Station, who have been quite civil, explored why persons who hold Cannabis growing licenses and are promoted by the Cannabis Authority, are still being picked up by police on their way home with product for medicines or oil making.
It was discovered that the government has not taken the criminality off the cannabis laws, and so the police are doing their work, and the magistrate as well! The only thing that was expected to change but continued, was the persecution of the Rastafari community by police looking for cannabis.
The Cannabis Authority is failing the community by the absence of management of the Business of Cannabis, resulting in the continued police persecution of Rastafari.
Whatever is planned to erase this part of the training of Antigua & Barbuda Police Force, it must be put in place immediately.
Besides, if people are allowed to come into the island and partake of the fruits of Rastafari labour, life and suffering for the past fifty years, it is only fair that Rastafari must benefit first!
If only occasionally the police would grab some youth from some other community, like Hodges Bay and Crosbies, where high grade cannabis is grown behind walls, where police dare not go!
This never happens, and all the middle class youth, the cannabis growers from abroad, and the politicians who have invested in the cannabis trade, all of them operate without interference from the police and the Magistrate Court.
Nobody in that social grouping is arrested and dragged to the police station, where they may be forced to stay.
This continues to be the unfair roll out of Antigua’s Cannabis Industry, where Rastafari who have kept cannabis alive, and suffered for it, are still being made to suffer, so that those who have, can have more!