Herb Curb under control
Rebel Salute 2016, which will be held on Friday and Saturday in St Ann, is the second event in Jamaica to be granted a marijuana exemption. The first was Rastafari Rootz Fest in Negril, Westmoreland, last November.
This has facilitated a section of the festival called the Herb Curb, described by Tony Rebel as a "venue within the venue" dedicated to an exposition on marijuana, including its use by Rastafari as a sacrament, as well as medicinal properties and economic potential.
On Saturday afternoon, at about 2 p.m., there will be a symposium at which speakers will explore different aspects of marijuana and its use.
There are a number of stipulations under which the exemption operates. Among the issues which co-organiser of the event, Jahyudah Barrett, identified were "you have to look at the amount of marijuana, if it is going to be used at the event, transportation of it, who will be carrying it, all of those things must be regulated." And Tony Rebel, whose birthday the festival celebrates, expanded, saying " ... who is carrying it, the names must go to the police, you have to meet with the police in the area, let them know what is happening, and who will be carrying the weed. "
"And children can't be all over where you have the weed," Tony Rebel said.
Barrett added that the festival has to work with the National Council on Drug Abuse as well as the chief medical officer.
"That is a requirement, when you get the exemption from the ministry for something like this."
Giving some detail on the exemption application, Barrett said "the process is not tedious, it is pretty simple. They have a standard application form and you fill it out and basically give them information, and you must meet the requirements in the legislation. If you do not meet the requirements, then, of course, you will not be granted the exemption. We are Rastafarians, so we meet the criteria. It is just what we would do with it afterwards," Barrett said.
Although an exemption has been granted for 2015, an application has to be made for subsequent stagings. Representatives of the board of the Ministry of Justice, which granted the exemption ,will also be in hand to monitor what takes place at Rebel Salute.
Barrett said children will not be allowed near the Herb Curb without proper supervision, so "like if you have a school, for example, that wants to do research in an area, because it is educational, then we would grant them access to it, provided that there is a teacher and it is monitored like that. But the general rule is that children are not allowed in that area at all."
"In fact, anybody under 18 years old is not allowed in that area. And that area will also be equipped with medical personnel. There is a section specifically for that, just in case," she said.