Categorized | National News

Former Jamaican Minister Supports Medical Marijuana

Jamaica’s former Minister of Transport and Works Mike Henry said he supports the legalization of marijuana in his country, but only for medical purposes.

Mr. Henry, who was a guest on the popular radio talk show Jones and Co. yesterday, expressed his support of the decriminalization of marijuana or “ganja.”

He said he supported the movement for as long as he could remember.

“I’ve advocated from day one that ganja should be a sacrament of the indigenous religion of Rastafarians,” he said.

“To me, that has always been the case because it is a right for religious freedom. I don’t believe in recreational marijuana or what it has been used for in the past. The United States and other countries have discovered the medicinal use of ganja, but the herbalists in Jamaica have done that and this wraps around my overall fight because one must remember the religions of Africa. The basic point is that I have always said that it should be isolated for religious use.”

Mr. Henry said although many see it as wrong it is because of lack of education of the power of the plant from those before his time.

He said marijuana would’ve never been illegal had people in the years before him were more knowledgeable.

“If our founding fathers had identified it as being a herb used by the indigenous people of Jamaica it would have never been made a criminal offence,” he said.

“But our founding fathers perhaps by miseducation, didn’t do that so it became an illegal substance. The facts that it was illegal ruined millions of lives as people were incarcerated on drug charges.”

Mr. Henry said with the many social issues people are faced with, they chose to hide behind marijuana to apparently make their lives “better.”

“Now, marijuana has become an escape from economic issues not just oppression, but the lack of economic capabilities and it became a part of an economic escape for a whole section of people.”

Mr. Henry explained that he voted with the Ganja Commission for it to be legalized when it was first formed, but only for medicinal and religious use.

He said big countries like the United States and Canada have realized the significance of the use of marijuana and believes that since Jamaica was fearful in internalizing the decision to legalize marijuana missed out on a huge opportunity.

Mr. Henry stressed that though he supports marijuana for the religious freedom of Rastafarians and he does not expect them to attempt to export it or promote it for recreational use, as it would be against their religion.
Jamaica last week decriminalized marijuana in small amounts such as two ounces and has softened penalties for drug possession and easing decades of tension between the Jamaican government and the Rastafarian community.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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