Rastafarian Elder Franklyn “King Frank-I” Francis said that governments should provide reparations to the Rastafari community for the condemnation by the international community of the rastafarians’ call for the legalisation of cannabis.
He made the comments following his return to Antigua and Barbuda from the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting in Jamaica as part of the Regional Commission on Marijuana.
King Frank-I, as he is more commonly known, said that Rastas have often been maligned by the international community for their advocacy of cannabis decriminalisation and legalisation.
He praised the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, for his acknowledgement of the global administrative strategies against the Rastafari.
“He (Prime Minister Browne) has acknowledged that the strategies employed against the Rastafari community, not only here in Antigua, but around the world, because of their advocacy of the use of the cannabis, were counter-productive.”
He also added that, although the recommendations given by the commission to the various leaders of CARICOM did not go to that extent, he believed that the Rastafari community deserves a percentage of the potentially lucrative industry.
King Frank-I went further by saying that many of the international conventions on drugs and narcotics, which regional countries have signed, have been broken by various countries and states outside the region as it pertains to marijuana.
“One of the concerns or fears of some of these national governments is the international conventions of which they have been signatories, and what our report points out is that these international conventions have their validity in consensus, and since the consensus have been broken by so many countries, it is time to review these international conventions,” he said, adding, “A number of countries [including] the Netherlands, Austria and Portugal, and a number of states in the United States have been going ahead on the premise that this plant is not really a narcotic and is not a dangerous drug.”
He also said that cannabis is used for more than simply a medicinal, sacramental or recreational drug, but also for economic development.
“[There have been] a number of companies, that have been involved in the production from either the medicinal point of view or making other substances; cannabis is widely utilised in a number of different ways, beside the medicinal usage, [including] textiles, paper production, [and] oils,” he said, adding that “cannabis now gives us the chance to produce not only the primary product but also the secondary and tertiary aspect of the production where the greater value added is derived.”
King Frank-I is a member of the country’s Marijuana Decriminalisation Committee and a member of the Regional Commission on Marijuana, the commission responsible for conducting a rigorous inquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Caribbean, and to determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana thereby making the drug more accessible for all types of usages, according to its website.