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Henzell's legacy carries on at 10A arts and herb house

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Perry Henzell on set with Jimmy Cliff, 1972.

There exists a plan by 10A West Kings House Road, Kingston, that may become the second medical marijuana dispensary opened in Jamaica.

The grounds of the home and office of the late Perry Henzell, director, producer, and co-writer of 1972's classic film The Harder They Come, will be transformed into a multipurpose attraction that will include Jamaican music and film exhibition spaces, a bar and restaurant, a performance stage, a boutique hotel, and a medical marijuana dispensary.

The Harder They Come is recognised as the vehicle that propelled living reggae legend Jimmy Cliff's career to a receptive global audience.

"Numerous scenes in this landmark Jamaican film were shot and edited at the residence, which will permanently house mounted exhibitions of posters of the wide range of films shot in Jamaica, building out from The Harder They Come, which was the first film to feature an all-Jamaican cast and crew, and daddy's second film, No Place Like Home," Justine Henzell, Perry's daughter explained in an interview with Billboard.

In addition to Justine, her brother, Jason, will also spearhead the transformation, which will occur in phases. The music and film exhibition space, bar-restaurant, marijuana dispensary and herb house (where medical marijuana can be consumed) are scheduled for a June 2018 opening. A 20-30 room boutique hotel is slated for 2019. The performance stage will be curated by Justine to feature film screenings, readings and conversations with musicians, authors and poets.

Cannabis oils, extracts, edibles, and specially developed ganja strains, including one called The Harder They Come, will be available at the 10A dispensary, which honours Perry's own cannabis advocacy.

"My father always respected the Rastafarian community, and he thought that ganja should be legal, so everything feels right about turning his home into a dispensary and bringing some of the Jakes Hotel experience to Kingston," added Jason, chairman of Jakes Hotel, Clarendon.

The 10A transformation also has the support of the celebrated director's widow, Sally.

"Perry never wanted to sell 10A. He wanted to keep it as a space for the arts, and he would love to see what is going on there now. It would be his dream come true," she said.

In 2015, the Jamaican Government established the Cannabis Licensing Authority of which Jason Henzell is a board member. Of six licences issued so far, Kush Research and Genetics is the company that will be using the space to operate the dispensary/herb house at 10A.