The Gleaner: KINGSTON, Jamaica, By Albert Ferguson – Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia Grange, has expressed disappointment that Rastafarians are not adequately benefitting from Jamaica’s cannabis industry.

She made her disappointment known at Friday’s staging of the CanEx Business Conference and Expo, held at the Montego Bay Convention Center in St James, and attended by local and international farmers and manufacturers of cannabis by-products.

According to the culture minister, accolades must be given to the Rastafarian movement for cultivating, safeguarding and preserving marijuana for its cultural, medicinal and therapeutic uses. 

Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports in discussion with reggae singer, Bushman, at CanEx Business Conference and Expo, held at the Montego Bay Convention Center in St James on Friday, September 16. – Albert Ferguson photo

In seeking to preserve and safeguard marijuana, which has now morphed into a global multibillion-dollar industry, many members of the Rastafarian community suffered harsh retaliation for promoting an activity which was illegal.

“My ministry, the Ministry of Culture, is the focal point for Rasta, and we are not satisfied that the Rastafari community is benefitting from all of this,” Grange said of the country’s cannabis industry.

“This is the substance of reparation, they suffered for it. Whatever we do, we must repair the damage by making sure they also benefit from the fruits of their labour,” she said. 

She noted that the exclusion of the Rastafarian community is taking place even after significant amendments in 2015 to the Dangerous Drugs Act.

“Seven years after the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, we are still struggling to establish a solid, thriving, globally-acclaimed cannabis industry in Jamaica, which would bring revenues to households, companies and the government,” she stated.