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VI Rastafarians propose ‘commercial marijuana’ as 3rd economic pillar

- said commercial use of the ‘herb’ may be the answer to VI’s economic challenges
The Rastafarian community in the Virgin Islands is recommending that the VI legalises marijuana for commercial purposes. Photo: Internet Source
Marijuana smoking is a common practice of Rastafarians. Photo: Internet Source
Marijuana smoking is a common practice of Rastafarians. Photo: Internet Source
Because the marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses or symptoms, many people argue that it should be legal for medical purposes. Photo: Internet Source
Because the marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses or symptoms, many people argue that it should be legal for medical purposes. Photo: Internet Source
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.

48 Responses to “VI Rastafarians propose ‘commercial marijuana’ as 3rd economic pillar”

  • qc (28/08/2016, 10:06) Like (32) Dislike (8) Reply
    free the weed
    • Smile (29/08/2016, 00:37) Like (7) Dislike (14) Reply
      3rd economic pillar, wow?
      Is there some study that one can read about whether this is viable or not?
      Will it merely be a cottage industry (small scale industry) or can it emerge into a realistic 3rd pillar option?
      • green thumb (29/08/2016, 08:15) Like (18) Dislike (2) Reply
        First three months that Colorado legalized it the state collected $25 million in revenue.
      • @ smile (29/08/2016, 09:05) Like (17) Dislike (4) Reply
        Do you live in a bubble? Have you not seen the series 'Weed"on CNN? Do you have Netflix to watch the documentaries on there about how Colorado and other near bankrupt states have filled their coffers? Do some research on your own before you minimize what you cannot and do not have knowledge of!
      • just asking.... (29/08/2016, 09:26) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
        LOL why not?
      • Smile (29/08/2016, 11:47) Like (12) Dislike (4) Reply
        LOL, why do people always feel that in order to have a difference of opinion with someone else, that they have to insult and try to bring that person down.

        I have read the reports on the marijuana economy for Colorado but those are specific to Colorado.
        If legalised weed was to be introduced in the VI, what are the things, that the VI will need to do, to ensure that it is successful. Just copying the laws of Colorado and applying them to the VI, does not necessarily mean, we will get $10m, $25m, $40m (as I read on Colorado) or whatever? We may have to do other things. If so, what are they?

        This the report that I am referring to.
        • @ smile (29/08/2016, 13:48) Like (7) Dislike (7) Reply
          Where did I mention in my statement any insult or attempt to 'bring that person down"? Please enlighten me because you seem to be sensitive and all up in your emotions today.
          It is not just Colorado, look at California, Oregon, even Florida where I bet you travel frequently is about to legalize it also. From Alaska to Washington DC - twenty-five states (25) that is 50% pf the union!! No one implied carbon copying any particular state (USA) of country (Netherlands/UK) but come up with a national conversation and look at getting this sorted out as a matter of urgency! The USVI, Guyana and Jamaica which incidentally has a former Prime Minister heavily invested in the medical manufacturing side. The pushing of opiates down the throats of the masses has caused a pandemic globally - the herb is natural! What are the upsides to pushing all these opiates on people? Show me that report!
          • Smile (29/08/2016, 17:22) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply
            This will be my last blog on this matter.
            Please re-read your blog.

            I am not advocating for or trying to minimize anything.
            In the story, it states that marijuana can be a 3rd economic pillar.
            If that is so, all I am asking, is there a study or report that has been done, that one can read for him/herself to either agree or disagree.

            Your blanket statements about looking at a CNN documentary or at Netflix implies that because it may have been successful for someone else, automatically means that it will be successful for us.
            Your flippant statement that I should do some research on my own, is exactly what my first blog was about (and you completely misunderstand), ie "is there a study that was done that one can read".
            • @ smile (02/09/2016, 15:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
              Specific to the BVI I doubt that any economic impact assessment has been executed. Yes you should do some rudimentary research (again) for your own edification since you wold like to know the economic impact of legalization of cannabis! Studies have been done and the proof is there for you if you choose to see it. You make the BVI seem as if it is so vastly different from the rest of the world - that is why we are always playing 'catch up'. Live outside your square box and you will see the world does not rotate around the BVI! You must be a paper-pusher in some Trust or Gov back office and when that sector (Finance) starts to lay-off you may very well find yourself wishing for a viable alternative economic alternative - and I hope you open a tourist dependent business also!
      • son of the earth (03/09/2016, 13:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Canada making good use of marijuana and hemp for 10 years strong. Please have some ambition and let us rebuild the BVI and the earth.
  • what a mess (28/08/2016, 10:22) Like (26) Dislike (8) Reply
    Marijuana is natural plant like soursop mint. Lemon grass and many others so why it is such a big problem to decriminalize it? Then the other tea bush them should be illegal
  • Extra! Extra! Read All About It! (28/08/2016, 10:48) Like (21) Dislike (1) Reply
    http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2016/08/antigua-and-guyana-both-looking-to-decriminalize-marijuana/

  • Yes (28/08/2016, 10:57) Like (17) Dislike (7) Reply
    Good proposal but whats goin to happen to all the young men who born here that we stupidly have locked up in jail rotting away over this bush. Legalise it then throw the judges in jail. If judges were any good we woulda never need lawyers, dem dont know nothin bout life
    • Legal tender (28/08/2016, 12:14) Like (11) Dislike (11) Reply
      @lol, why are we always showing our ignorance in such silly way. As it stands now, marijuana is illegal and to have it in your possession is against the law, those who are locked up for it has broken the law, until it is decriminalize, it remains an offence against the laws of the Virgin Islands. Even if it is decriminalize now, those who are serving time will not authomatically be release. You sense of reasoning is very ignorant
  • herb is the healing of the nation (28/08/2016, 10:58) Like (34) Dislike (5) Reply
    Come on NDP!...put those greenhouses to good use.
  • we really stupid boy (28/08/2016, 11:02) Like (28) Dislike (9) Reply
    Those american crooks made ours illegal and theirs legal, they busy making money while we here broke because of assishness.
    • Peace new jersey (28/08/2016, 12:46) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
      Our hypocrite government decide, against the wishes of tha american medical association, decided to keep marijuana at schedule 1, no proof of medical benefit when they know it is helping children go from 40 seizures a day down to one or less a day.
      Obama is a hypocrite making children suffer so he can be politically allegiant to drug companies...
    • BEWISE (29/08/2016, 08:51) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      Truth was said. Colorado making money hand over fist and we here can't make money. It is just like the Financial Services. They will make money and when we start to make money they will say, oh, we can't import it from the Caribbean. You think you know those Edomites who do not want us to make money? But we need to reconsider it because we need the money. BVI not going down.
      • B Savage (29/08/2016, 11:28) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
        I like the fact that I may have influenced you addressing these people by their true biblical name EDOMITES. But this is our fault, They started as Albino children of Africans. They were cast out because of their light color & went to dwell in the Caucus mountains. BOY DID THEY GET THEIR REVENGE.
  • One day it will. (28/08/2016, 11:17) Like (23) Dislike (5) Reply
    This issue Needs a courageous and knowledgeable advocate. In this case it will take a white man to win this battle for us. Just like Slavery..it will be won one day..Black prophets been saying for over 50 yrs. Writing books explaining the rewards of this weed spiritually, medically. Economically Without much success. Now one rich white Doctor Who fought the courts and win. Now Ganja is making billions legally in America with millions going back in taxes..Bob Marley name is the marketing brand his sons making Millions for that. It takes a white man.
  • Health Concerns. (28/08/2016, 11:30) Like (10) Dislike (4) Reply
    Do an objective health research on these 6 products.. 1/ Meat...2/ Cigarettes... 3 Alcohol...4/Sodas ...5/ Ganja...6/ Cheese.....The Most dangerous health wise. 1/ Sodas..2/ Cheese.. 3/ Cigarettes.. 4./Alcohol...5 Ganja...6 Meat ..Sodas. Cheese, Cigarettes and Alcohol are more a health hazard to our body than Ganja is.
  • Wes (28/08/2016, 11:33) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    So how do you separate the criminality from the medical use. Anyway Big Pharma will soon have the answer when you can buy your Marijuana pills or inhaler from Roche, Glaxo Smithkline and the like. Then it will be legal. Until then small man will make jail for the herb
  • watching (28/08/2016, 11:46) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    NO ONE is broke because they cant sell weed .
    • Falcon God (31/08/2016, 09:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do not let them misdirect you, the radio show that this interview was taken from had nothing to do with weed. It was about freeing JAH POPLE, It was about the illegal VI Government that have black people in slavery for over four hundred years perpetually. THE GOVERNER HAVE TO GO. WHITE SUPREMACY MUST GO. Nothing to with herbs. Halstead Lima say so.
  • Commonsenseapproach (28/08/2016, 13:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    It is a topic that should be discussed. However we should not just wake up one day and say "legalized weed". The real issue is so much the use....but the greed by those producers who only see $$$$ and do not really care about the effects.
  • forsure (28/08/2016, 13:36) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    @ we really stupid boy - Yes you are !
  • ras (28/08/2016, 15:47) Like (16) Dislike (2) Reply
    Makes too much sense so it won't happen. I notice you all trying to propose things from time to time but look around and ask yourself where have all the other rastafarians gone. There's a reason that you can't find them around the VI anymore. Progressive people don't do well there so we leave. In bigger countries even though marijuana was illegal it was still not a major crime but in the BVI it is. To limit yourselves to the BVI is a crime to yourself. Not just in terms of this issue but in general...
  • Wendy (28/08/2016, 17:19) Like (14) Dislike (5) Reply
    I accept that marijuana is a medicinal herb. What I do not understand is why some smokers are unhealthy looking and toothless.
    • critical (29/08/2016, 15:14) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Nasty is nasty. Most of the time is crachead have that look noherbsman
    • so wrong (29/08/2016, 19:01) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
      Weed smokers don't loose their teeth,
      Crackheads and dope users is the ones who is toothless.
  • Smash (28/08/2016, 18:23) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    BVI will miss the boat yet again on another industry business opportunity. Other islands are already gearing up for legalization. And then Government will waste our money trying to get on the wagon once the market saturated and captured. Must do it now!
  • Boo (28/08/2016, 19:07) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    Lol by the time the Rastas smoke out all the weed there will be none to sell.
  • critical (28/08/2016, 19:28) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Anyone care why is it illegal in the 1st place. It not because of any social issue. It based primarily on greed of fortune 500 companies such as "DuPont" etc. This plant cant do anything that plastic can plus bidigradable + medical + spiritual + the strongest fiber etc. But we can continue to act like the laws were in place 2 benefit ppl & ignore the real issues in ourselves. Man still fighting against JAH will. Look at our banana & sugar cane industries. He killed those and now selling us inferior unhealthy force ripe fruit. We need 2 wake up & stop thinking we are the world while we are been raped on every level. Wakeup bvi. U out of secrets now.
  • WTF (28/08/2016, 20:00) Like (6) Dislike (9) Reply
    I know the hardcore supporters to legalize marijuana are going to come after me, but I am free to my opinion and I am going to give it. I have families and friends who started off smoking marijuana and end up on crack and cocaine. They became full blown junkies. Two of whom i speak are in the grave yard at ages 32 and 51 years respectively. In my daily travel here in the BVI I witness guys and girls after they smoke marijuana, their eyes are half shut, looking like they are in a trance. Is that the way you are supposed to look when you smoke this so called miracle herb? Marijuana use is the spring board to escalate to harder drugs. The people who want to roast their brain smoking marijuana should go ahead, but don't try to push their ideology that marijuana is the Save the World Herb. So many kids when they start to smoke marijuana drop out of school, lose interest in developing themselves, and have no purpose for their lives except to maybe become a drug dealer. So instead of just shouting, Legalize Marijuana, the supporters should do their research, educate themselves to the pros and cons of marijuana use, and bring something tangible to the table to have a meaningful discussion. Not just that it will boost the economy, but poor mental health, poor lung health, damage to the brain, addictive nature and altered perception. All I am saying, is don't make , Economy Boost, the number one factor for calling to legalize marijuana. There are many pros and cons factors to be considered.
    • @wtf (29/08/2016, 10:34) Like (24) Dislike (2) Reply
      Though what you are saying may have some truth please let me counter this argument. I know hundreds of people of all ages who use marijuana and have done for years who have never gotten hooked on other drugs. I believe the idea behind it being a gateway drug has a lot to do with the source - with it now being illegal, people need to go to illegal means to obtain it - the same people supplying the marijuana will often also supply other stronger drugs - so the illegalization of it is actually pushing more people who use marijuana to associate with dealers of other 'harder' drugs - I don't think that this gateway has anything to do with the plant itself - but more with the relationships that develop between 'drug dealers' and their customers. There is also another side to this where these 'dealers' know that they can make more money from the harder drugs - so they will lace the marijuana to try and hook people onto these harder drugs (this I do not believe to be a big problem in tortola - but we cannot think that it doesn't happen here at all) - legalization would make it easier to regulate the industry and stop thing like this from happening. I also disagree with your observation about 'their eyes half shut, looking like they are in a trance' - there may be a few who over-use marijuana, and just like alcohol too much can affect you adversely, but you would be surprised how many people that you interact with daily have used marijuana, perhaps just before you have met them, but you would not be able to tell. Legalizing marijuana would not make it compulsory - many people choose not to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol - so you would not be required to do it - I fully agree with what you said - LET THOSE WHO WANT TO USE IT USE IT. There are medical benefits - this is a scientific FACT, and I do believe that the world is leaning towards legalization of it as a whole (to different degrees) and there would be HUGE benefits for the BVI if we were to be a pioneer in this process as opposed to a follower. We would see a boost in tourism, and the ability to tax marijuana would boost our economy for sure. We have a huge community of talented farmers here in the BVI in an industry that has seen very little support from our government - something like this would help them to support themselves in a time where everything they try to achieve is being imported cheaper than they can produce it for and nobody is doing anything to protect them. I am all for marijuana legalization in the BVI but we need to do it soon - and NO I don't smoke it or eat it, but my eyes are open to the much bigger picture. PLEASE let us take this seriously - and if we do take this seriously PLEASE let it be regulated and overseen by someone to whom the BVI and not the money is important - that is how it will work and how we will be able to thrive.
  • guess what? (28/08/2016, 21:27) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    There was a time when cigarette was considered medicinal and making Doctors smoked. It take decades to discovered the truth that Cigarette is cancerous. Sugar was almost regarded a god at a point. Now we know better. The good part of marijuana is so insignificant compared with negative effects. Statistics has it that 90% of those who use Marijuana do so to feel high and not for medicinal purposes. See the photo of our rasta brothers. They do not look healthy. Rastafarianism has its roots in Jamaica. Marijuana is the major cause of violent crime is those localities from where came from. Marijuana will mess up ones mental state. It will impair ones IQ. Folks are talking about business opportunity but they don't bother that someone may make the money at the expense of lives that will be destroyed recreating with Marijuana.
  • B Savage (29/08/2016, 09:19) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Of course it is it should have been no less than second by now. The talk by US side was it will conflict with Federal LAW but WASHINGTON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA done legalize smh it don't get more damn federal than that, WE HAVE SOME ROBOT LEADERS WHO WILL SIT PASSIVE WHILE EVERYTHING PASS US BY. NOBODY RUNNING ANY PRESENT CARIBBEAN ISLAND SHOULD BE MENTALLY NO OLDER THAN 48 TOPS!
  • Tallfat (29/08/2016, 10:27) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    Alcohol is legal. Check the stats and see how many deaths is due to it. Cigarette has been legal for umpteen years. The deaths that are directly and indirectly related to the use of it is outrageous. But everyone go on living/dying with it. What were the benefits then, now going forwards except $$$$$$$$. No one truly cares about the people if they did they there would be a move to re-criminalize it. Oh it's just a thought no need to get wind up people. We know back in the day the moonshine advocates were jailed until the eyes recognized the $$$$$$$ it will bring. Hind sight or not it is still bringing in the $$$$$$ whether people live or die. But the great difference between the Cannabis/marijuana is that it has more benefits across the board. The hemp can be use for many purposes, the plant can be used to make clothing and of course medicinal. What many speak of is the THC in it. Far as research goes there are strains with low or no thc in it. Well if I go around believing that every fat girl eat lots of food I may be totally wrong in my assumption just like WTF assumes rastas and every young man he sees eyes red cause of marijuana. If your cousins decides to upgrade to downgrade is a matter for them, a choice they made without any gateway cause as far as I know the two is NOT the same. I don't smoke, I did once upon a time but at no point have I EVER felt I need to step up to crack, the white girl or any of the other stuff. What is beer, guiness or shandy gateway to 100 Proof alcohol? The french drinks wine with almost every meal and are not alcoholics how is wine not a gateway to other drugs? A wtf quiz.
  • ................... (29/08/2016, 11:02) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Since we aren't doing anything with the Green Houses maybe we can grow them in there. Then they will really be "Green" Houses........
  • tretretrete (29/08/2016, 12:44) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Once was a hater of weed UNTIL I did my own research....We all know the benefits of "Weed" that's why it's not legal, so the government NWO can continue to kill us with their poisonous tablets and other scientific remedies...the only problem I have with it is our Youths don't see it's value and continue to use it as if it was out of style and also brings laziness to their minds....
  • critical (29/08/2016, 15:41) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    Knowledge is needed about the herb but things we eat everyday are far more dangerous 2 our bodies meats dairys candies gatorades highfructose corn syrup fryfoods etc i could go on non stop. Yhe differentstrain all have different attributes but having it illegal has caused it 2 b abused. Lazy ppl will b lazy weed or no weed this is an ambition issue. I have used it from 15 now 40 and i hav no limit to my success in life without losing my integrity. If its legalized its easier to study caused it been illegal means nttn to who wants it and tbe use it been climing & climbing. So we cud learn about it or we cud stay here acting like the word illegal means anything to anyone with there own minds.
  • Di Ras (31/08/2016, 09:47) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some of you all that's on here with you all negative vibes towards this plant need to educate you all self. Most of you just listening to what others say and run with it not knowing jack about it. And others just old fashion people that haven't a clue what it is. Educate you all self then come talk. and these islands are tourists islands so just think about how these tourists would pay to vacation in paradise where the herbs is legalized. Come on people use your heads and come together we have the the perfect everything to bring this country up where it's to be. Again educate your selves before you all talk nonsense. And to the oppressors who would not try to listen i man say to you. More fire
  • Listen (02/09/2016, 15:37) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Don't ask the church or ppl to comment on this as their all brainwashed


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