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Connell wants legal ganja plant at GTC

Connell wants legal ganja plant at GTC

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In what could be the boldest move to date by lawyer and director of the Grassroot Tennis Club (GTC) Grant Connell, he has requested permission, in accordance with the Drugs Prevention and Misuse Act, to cultivate one plant of the genus cannabis.

In a letter dated November 5, 2015 and addressed to Minister of Health and the Environment Clayton Burgin,{{more}} Connell is soliciting permission to have one cannabis plant on display at the GTC for educational purposes.

“The GTC seeks to be an effective channel of visual education on the truth of the Cannabis plant which scientific research now reveals contains over 5,000 phytol chemicals one of which, Cannabidiol (CDB) is the base for phenomenal medical cures,” Connell wrote in his letter.

The letter further stated, “Cognisant that the plant is illegal and is the subject of an ingrained negative mindset, we at GTC will treat it as the wildbeast it is considered … We will cage it, tame it, making it accessible only to those caretakers who would nurture and maintain its growth for display and educational purposes.”

Connell who, over the past 10 years has been an advocate for beginning the debate on marijuana and the way forward as a small island developing nation, reminded that the plant is a part of the Rastafarians’ religious ceremony.

“I see it as blatant disregard for them….After all, incense plays a part in the Anglican’s religious ceremony and only God and the Queen must know what that incense is made of….Sometimes it cannot be inhaled; it can choke you.”

Continuing, Connell noted, “But we never question that. I guess the origin is Caucasian and foreign, so justified as correct and accepted by our people, while the rastas seek to smoke and inhale what they have cultivated, watched grow, harvested, dried and smoked, but denied because it’s illegal.

“…I have never seen a people who like to see our own suffer more than us…Slavery certainly did a number on us that we still can’t release the mental shackles.”

Connell believes more must be done beyond what he has been instrumental in doing, in getting the Commissioner of Police to change the long-standing practice of denying station bail for small quantities of marijuana.

The attorney declared, “I see it in court sometimes, a guilty plea for being in possession of 100 grams, sentenced $500 dollars forthwith, or four months in jail. On the contrary, it costs about $800 per month to maintain a healthy prisoner; therefore, in the event he can’t pay the $500, the state in burdened with a $3,200 bill, does that makes sense?”

Connell advanced that marijuana plays a crucial role in the Vincentian society.

“It puts food on tables and shelter over heads, and shoes on people feet, so it’s time we end the hypocrisy and deal with the issue at hand.

“If our friends to our east had our fertile soil and product, their approach to the herb would have been different from way back when the Concorde first landed…the fact of the matter is that it plays a role in their tourism product, sun, sand, sea, sex and a good spliff from St Vincent and the Grenadines, that’s the reality,” he added.

Looking further, Connell stated, “This plant can be another reason to make the soon to be completed Argyle International Airport have frequent traffic, with charters from Europe and others who come for the specific purposes, to smoke it, soak in it, be healed and cured by it, and enjoy a tour of what can be the Ganja Garden of the Caribbean.

“We cannot win the war against ganja…..it does not have to go through a process or factory, as mother nature is the factory…You drop a seed on fertile soil and it grows….once there is light, there will be the herb, so let there be light… that’s the reason to free the herb and let there be light,” Connell advocated.

“I have to commend the Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves thus far for his approach in restricting the foreign forces from entering to use chemicals, the nature of which remains unknown, to spray and destroy the local marijuana….This spraying could have a corrosive effect on generations to come, similar to the after-effects of Vietnam,” Connell remarked.

Apart from Burgin, Connell’s letter was carbon copied to Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of Foreign Affairs Camillo Gonsalves, Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan, Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams and Minister of Tourism, Sports and Culture Cecil Mc Kie.(RT)

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