Entertainers give Hanna ‘high five’ for ganja lab idea

April 23, 2021
Tony Rebel
Tony Rebel

News of Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna's suggestion to divert money for a new parliament building to a ganja lab has reignited conversations among several marijuana-advocating entertainers.

Hanna explained that a national ganja lab would drive the scientific research for cannabis and facilitate Jamaican nutraceutical products for export. The new parliament building designated for National Heroes Circle will cost US$50 million (about J$7.5 billion), according to the Urban Development Corporation.

Reggae artiste Chezidek, known widely for his hit single Leave The Trees, said he fully supports the lab idea because "the youths have to come and study the marijuana to the fullest."

"Ganja was something that some of us parents and elders were afraid of because the old colonial system inherited by the government made it seem like using marijuana was the worst and most evil and criminal thing black people could do. We have been held back for many years while developed countries world has been advancing ...they created labs long time," Chezidek said.

However Chezidek also called for compensation from the government after years of persecuting Jamaicans "for the use of a tree given to us by the Almighty that they are now trying to capitalise on".

Poor man benefit from ganja

"The Government should work with the people like they do for other crops. I want to see the poor man benefit from ganja. Give us the space to grow our own ganja and sell it and redesign the system so that the small man isn't limited to just five trees," he said. Legendary reggae singer-songwriter Tony Rebel said that Hanna was echoing sentiments of persons like Professor Manley West and Dr Albert Lockhart, pioneers in medical marijuana research who formulated the glaucoma treatment Canasol that was blocked in the US.

"So in the request of making a lab in Jamaica, it is very important as the lab could service our own people nationally and possibly the Caribbean," he said.

The entertainer also told THE WEEKEND STAR that there is a wide interest in Jamaican ganja "but the exportation of it hasn't been opened up as yet and that's where my interests are."

Stephen-Jon Brown, quality assurance manager at medical cannabis company JACANA, agreed with the ganja lab proposal and advised the Government to act quickly.

"As it stands now some labs are making efforts to improve, especially the Bureau of Standards Jamaica. However, if these labs don't act quickly, we will fail to get credible results and this will greatly affect our chances of exporting," Brown said.

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