Jamaica looks to cash in on cannabis, Rastafarians fear being left out

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Ras Iyah V. describes himself as confrontational, especially with the police.

Well known in Jamaica for his outspoken support of the marijuana industry, the Rastafarian ― who sports a long, white beard and dreadlocks ― has had various run-ins with the law over the years.

Authorities have long persecuted Rastafari, he said, including their sacramental use of marijuana, which Jamaica decriminalised for personal use in 2015.

“I have no intention of letting my rights be trampled on by the state,” he added.

Now, he is hopeful that a government programme due to launch this month could lead to stronger rights for Rastafarians and help indigenous cannabis farmers benefit from the exploding global market.

The Alternative Development Programme (ADP) focuses on transitioning small, “traditional” cannabis farmers from illicit trade to Jamaica’s nascent formal industry.

It will provide land to cannabis farmers and subsidise the costs for the infrastructure they need to

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