No curbing the Herb....Patrons flock herb display at Rebel Salute
RICHMOND, St Ann:
This year, it wasn't all about music at Rebel Salute. For decades, rural communities, especially in St Ann and Westmoreland, which had the reputation of producing high-quality plants, have benefited from the planting of marijuana - albeit illegally - with parents being able to send their children to school, feed their families and build houses.
With the Government relaxing the laws, allowing for some breathing space where possession and planting of the herb is concerned, Rebel Salute this year introduced what the organisers called Herb Curb, where marijuana and its many uses were highlighted through exhibitions and symposiums.
Quite naturally, it drew large audiences over the duration of the two-day event. There was just no way to curb the enthusiasm exhibited by those in attendance, especially with some exhibitors giving free samples.
In short, Herb Curb was a hit, nearly as much as the many hits that the long line-up of artistes performed on stage over the two nights at Grizzly's Plantation Cove in Priory, St Ann.
Steppa, the moderator at Herb Curb, told Rural Express that it represents a campaign to educate the public on the many uses of ganja and hemp.
"When we talk about this campaign of herb and hemp - the industrial part - it's nothing about smoking, so I don't have to encompass that at all," he explained.
"You just have to talk about other uses of, you know, the industrial part that many countries across the world are making millions [from]. The economic gains are just so massive, we can't even begin to explain."
While giving thanks for the relaxing of some of the ganja laws, he believes there should be an apology for the way Jamaicans, especially Rastafarians, have been treated because of the herb.
One product that attracted attention was the Cannabis Quencher, a range of drinks in flavours such as grape, lemonade, mango and cherry. Bottled by a company called Epican, the products will soon become available in Jamaica.
No to be left behind, the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) was in the midst, disseminating information on the changes in the ganja law and answering questions.
Many persons left the Herb Curb more educated about the laws governing possession, cultivation and use of marijuana as well as the many uses of the plant.
The NCDA pointed out that:
n Persons will not be arrested for possession of under two ounces of ganja, but they will be given a ticket to pay a fine at the tax office, in much the same way one treats a traffic ticket. These persons will not be given a criminal record.
n Persons with over two ounces of ganja can be arrested and charged and may be fined and/or sent to prison.
n Ganja smoking is not permitted in public spaces or within five metres of a public space.
n Ganja use in private residences is not an offence.
n Every household is allowed to grow up to five plants.
n Persons can import medicine derived from ganja but need documents from a doctor who recommends the use of ganja as a medicine.
n It is still illegal to buy or sell ganja.