Thousands of pounds of marijuana are legally leaving Jamaica on a weekly basis for Canada, Amsterdam and other countries where marijuana is legal. Sadly, however, the beneficiaries are not the Jamaican Black marijuana farmers. In fact, the average Black Jamaican marijuana farmer who had to endure police brutality, arrests and in some case even death continue to face these same fate even after the island decriminalized marijuana back in 2015.
Jamaican Black marijuana farmers are becoming fed up as they see white men and women mostly from foreign countries come in and dominate the Jamaican marijuana industry, not because of their marijuana farming know how but because the silly Jamaican government as priced the poor farmers out of the business with their ridiculously high fees for farming.
Some Black marijuana farmers have decided to take a stance and fight back against the government.
One Black farmer who has decided to fight the unfair marijuana laws is Royan Harris of St. Thomas, Jamaica.
Working on a tip, detectives from the Narcotics Division conducted an anti-narcotics operation at the home of Harris where 113 ganja plants were seen growing on the deck roof of his house. An adjoining field, which Harris identified as his, was found with 806 growing ganja plants.
Harris reportedly told the police that he had no license to cultivate the ganja but had all rights to so since so many foreigners and white farmers were cultivating all over the island and reaping all the financial rewards. It is alleged that he told the cops that when the government makes licensing reasonable for the Black farmers he would happily get the required licenses.
Harris then fled the scene and a warrant was then obtained for his arrest and the cultivation destroyed.
Harris was subsequently handed over to the narcotics police by his attorney and was charged with possession of ganja, dealing in ganja and cultivating ganja.
He was granted bail to the tune of $200,000 and is to appear before the St Thomas Parish Court on March 12.
Attorney Christopher Townsend is preparing to vigorously defend Harris in what he considers unfair charges of breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Townsend pointed to the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act as he hinted at his client’s defense.
“The law doesn’t speak to form, it speaks to substance as the Privy Council just ruled,” argued Townsend.
Under the 2015 amendments to the Act, adherents to the Rastafarian faith are permitted to smoke ganja for sacramental purposes in locations registered as places of Rastafarian worship.
In addition persons 18 years or older, who are adherents to the Rastafarian faith, or Rastafarian organizations, may apply for authorization to cultivate ganja for religious purposes as a sacrament in adherence to the Rastafarian faith.
Harris is a baldhead but his defense will bring into question of what constitutes a Rasta.
Each household is also allowed to legally grow no more than five ganja plants on its premises. If there is more than one household on any premises, each household may grow five ganja plants.
However, it remains a criminal offense to be in possession of more than two ounces of ganja, and offenders can be arrested, charged, tried in court and, if found guilty, sentenced to a fine or to imprisonment or both.
The smoking of ganja in a public place, or within five meters of a public place, is also prohibited.