Marijuana booth popular at festival
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Last Sunday, a mixed audience comprising tourists and local reggae fans travelled to the Rio Nuevo Village Museum in St Mary for the highly anticipated Rockabessa Herbs and Music Festival.
While the event featured performances from entertainers such as Sizzla, I-Wayne, and Max Romeo, the booths and stalls marketing marijuana-based products proved to be just as popular.
One exhibitor, Cheryline Lawson of the St Mary-based Rock Water Joint Company, explained why the festival attracted such a diverse range of spectators.
She told Rural Xpress: "I'm here to showcase the natural products my husband and I have created. I do the research and packaging, and he creates the products. I got into the business because during my research, I discovered the amazing medical benefits of marijuana.
"The herb has so many benefits and Jamaicans are fortunate because we have it at our disposal. A lot of Jamaicans use marijuana recreationally, but it also helps to relieve chronic pain and can help people with HIV, AIDS, cancer, and kids with epilepsy.
"We are members of the St Mary Ganja Growers Association, which meet every month to talk about new updates, and we've applied for the medical marijuana licence. To help us become better herbalists, last year, I did a course in marijuana at the Cannabis Training University in California and received a master exam certificate.
"Festivals like this are really needed so the general public can become more aware of what's going on. A lot of people don't understand what medical marijuana is, and I believe this event will highlight what's happening, and help people to understand there is a difference between the recreational and medicinal aspects of marijuana."
Lawson, who is the author of several books, believes that eventually, the Jamaican government will be able to generate huge profits from the legalisation of cannabis.
She explained: "To be honest, I think the problem right now comes down to a basic issue of trust. Jamaicans have already indulged in producing marijuana illegally, so I think the Government wants to ensure they have all their i's dotted and t's crossed before they make it available to everybody.
"They just want to regulate, but I think a lot of government ministers need to have a better understanding of what medical marijuana is, because I don't think they have grasped the concept yet. I think they have to be educated as well as the public, but I don't know if they are making the effort."