Dig Ganja and Reggae? Here’s How to Support Jamaican Cannabis

in Culture

The colors red, gold, and green cover the white stoner’s clothes and decorate the dispensaries he frequents. Folks familiar with reggae or Caribbean culture may have heard the three colors also referred to as “Ites, Green, and Gold” as Jamaican artist Johnny Clarke sang. While these colors are commonly mistaken for the Jamaican flag, they are actually the flag of Ethiopia, claimed by Rastafari for its connection to Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, whom Rastafarians revere as a prophet and incarnation of Jah, or god, on Earth. Even if the name Selassie is foreign to you, you likely already know a speech he gave, as sung by Bob Marley in the 1976 song “War.” The American and Canadian cannabis industries are soaked in Jamaican ganja culture, but so far, we have yet to pay them for it. 

“Jamaica is being taken advantage of,” says Dr. Lakisha Jenkins, founder of Jenasis, a partnership enterprise producing all agricultural commodities including cannabis. “All these companies are coming here, from mostly Canada, creating companies, exporting back to Canada, and going public on the Canadian stock market. It’s not helping Jamaica at all, not even a little bit,” Dr. Jenkins says. 

Rastafarians have always used cannabis sacramentally, but until the government decriminalized the plant in 2015, faced mass persecution and jail time. Jamaica’s ganja history is marked by what Rastafari refer to as “Bad Friday,” an incident in 1963 in which Rastafarians protested police harassment near a police station in Montego Bay. The situation turned violent, and the police killed eight Rastafarians. “Because Rastafari are a anti-colonial movement, Rastafarians are targeted by the state,” says Rastafarian activist Ras Iyah V. 

Now, under the Alternative Development Programme, or ADP, previously illicit farms can transition to the legal market and supply Jamaican and Canadian companies …

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Author: Sophie Saint Thomas / High Times

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