20 September 2016

Virgin Islands Rastafarians propose ‘commercial marijuana’ as third economic pillar

Virgin Islands News Online

- Said commercial use of the ‘herb’ may be the answer to VI’s economic challenges

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Rastafarian community in the Virgin Islands has proposed the use of marijuana on a commercial level as a possible solution to the current fiscal challenges facing the territory.

Using their time of an hour and a half on the 3D show on ZBVI 780 AM with host Doug Wheatley on Friday August 26, 2016, Halstead L. Lima, also known as Cool Lion, said on a regular basis more and more countries are coming to recognise the value of the herb both as a medicine and on a commercial level. He suggested that the Virgin Islands should do the same.

“We have been at this thing a while now. It’s not a marijuana concern; it is just about the economy. I’m just using some alternate survival techniques for the economy,” he stated.

He likened the territory’s economy as standing on a stool with two legs- offshore banking and Tourism- and in his view, commercial marijuana should be the third leg.

‘Legalise it’

“It’s time to free up the people and it’s time to free up the herb, so yes, I would like to have one of them islands to grow some herbs and to export it,” he continued.

In addition, he pointed to so many things that can be derived from this one plant, but said the people have a mental “block. They cannot see beyond what is in front of their nose.”

Another member of the Rastafarian community, Educator Shaniqua F. Vanterpool, also known as Empress Ruth, said in her view enough is not being done to educate the masses.

“I think when the public hears of marijuana they only think about the smoking. So I think as a community of people I don’t think we have done enough. We have to do more to free our people to educate the youths,” she remarked.

According to her, the herb has garnered a bad reputation among youth who use it as a fashion trend and noted that a lot of work has to be done to change that image.

In terms of decriminalisation of the herb, Empress Ruth would like to see it on all levels medically, since she believes there are many people in society that would benefit if the government was to legalise it, particularly for cancer and asthma patients.

The other guest on the show was Robert D. Penn also known as Acutui.

In 2014, Premier Dr The Hon D. Orlando Smith, when pressed on whether the Virgin Islands would join the move to legalise marijuana for medicinal purposes, noted that further studies would have to be conducted prior to any decision.