Advocates organise to push for legalization of marijuana

Herbal Awareness SXM members (from left) Emilio Kalmera, Roland Joe and Arun Jagtiani.

PHILIPSBURG–April 20 is known as International Cannabis Awareness Day, and the members of Herbal Awareness SXM want everyone to know they are continuing to push for legalisation of marijuana.

St. Maarten businessman Roland “Ras Bushman” Joe is heading up this initiative with backing from other prominent members of the community. He said that when they began working towards their goal three years ago they were met with indifference by the Parliamentarians. “We didn’t think they were mature enough to handle what we were saying, but now we have a new government and we are hoping to move forward on the issue,” he said.

There are three reasons legalisation is important, Joe explained. First, marijuana can be used to treat many diseases and help with symptoms of others. Second, the herb is used by Rastafarians as a spiritual sacrament and therefore has a cultural value. Third, it has been used recreationally by people across the globe and throughout history.

Antigua and Barbuda recently became the latest country to decriminalise marijuana, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne stating for the record his opinion that the “pernicious prohibition” was motivated by the racism and politics of the colonial era.

The trend toward full or partial legalisation in the United States is also continuing, with currently 30 of the 50 states having passed laws that legalise the substance in some form and eight states making recreational marijuana fully legal for adults.

“We want to know: what is the plan for the government of St. Maarten? We don’t want to get left behind. We say, ‘Legalize it, don’t criticise it,’” said Joe from his Ital Shack Restaurant on Bush Road. “We are ready to take our case to Parliament again, and we hope that these parliamentarians will be better able to deal with the issue.”

For more information on this movement, visit the Herbal Awareness SXM Facebook page.

Source: The Daily Herald