KINGSTON, Jamaica — Advocates for the legal use of medicinal marijuana joined with recreational smokers and curiosity seekers last Wednesday for what was described as a soft launch of Itopia Life, an upscale facility, established to provide information and technical support to patrons wanting enlightenment about the once tabooed herb Jamaicans and others have maligned with felonious penalties a deterrent to usage.
Recognizing that except for blatant disregard to law enforcers by members of the Rastafarian who have long integrated its smoking as a sacrament to their beliefs the use of sensimilia, ganja, marijuana and weed were considered illegal.
On arrival to 10 West Kings House Road address, registrants were asked to complete a form with requests for responses to — Do you have prior experience with ganja use? Yes or No.
On the form, qualifying medical conditions for approval included: acquired immune deficiency syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, ulcerative colitis, traumatic brain injury, sickle cell anaemia, spinal cord injury, stress, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis C, fibromyalgia, insomnia, inflammatory bowel disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and alphabets more conditions.
What symptoms are you currently experiencing?
Have you sought clinical treatment for the ailments that ganja treats?
Ron Muschette, a local radio personality helmed a live, broadcast during the remote launch inviting listeners to test the services.
From his Mello 88 microphones, the popular jock talked with medical professionals, Itopia Life’s President, Joan Webley, vendors and organic health proponents as well as craft sales representatives from Trench Town.
Dr. Alicia Bahadur explained to this insider that the dispensary guarantees a safe experience tailored to suit the needs of each patron. She said individuals challenging HIV, epilepsy, anxiety, stress or hallucination can benefit from the various hybrids and wholistic offerings.
She cited indica for energy, sativa with mint and other approved flavors to satiate virtually every chemistry.
According to Webley, her experience with the once-banned herb gave her the kind of peace she did not find with other products.
“It provides balance,” Webley interjected.
“I tried yoga and many forms of stress relievers in order to ease the stressors to Jamaica’s challenging environment and was only relieved by this process.”
To connect with Itopia Life check joan@
Visiting tourists and locals said they were surprised to learn from sessions conducted by group tsting officers that there is not a one fits all remedy.
“There are all types of high and the ganja dispensary was created to tailor the different strains of ganja hybrids to suit the user’s needs.”
Despite a medical setback two years ago when Rita Marley, Jamaica’s reggae queen suffered a stroke there is no slowing of her ideas to inspire and motivate the youth on the island. Last week she doled out prize monies totaling $90,000 in the currency creative youths will benefit. Three students are now recipients of prize monies they earned after the matriarch challenged them to write songs using “Strong Black Women and Their Role in History” as a guide to their penmanship.
“All good lyrics have a root in universality and truth,” she explained “something in a story that connects and resonates in the listener.”
This topic gives the contestants an opportunity to take a true story and interpret it in a creative way that does that.”
Along with her Rita Marley Foundation she decided on integrating participation with high schools on the island.
“We want the youth who are interested in creating music to be guided by the philosophy of Bob and Rita Marley,” Rosemary Duncan, a spokesperson for the Foundation said.
“We want them to create songs that transcend time and generations, songs that babies and elders alike can listen to, and this is achievable by writing clean, clear lyrics that are reflective of life experiences.”
This is the very first year Marley has liased with secondary schools for a songwriting competition. Ultimately what the widow of the king of reggae, and mother to Grammy winning composers would like to realize is that schools add a course to a music curriculum that focusses on penning lyrics.
Since 2013, she has used her might to spawn an essay competition in high schools.
She explained that her own musical journey was buoyed by inspiration and aid from creative, award-winning musicians and writers.
“As the proverb states ‘iron sharpens iron’ and we naturally were a source of inspiration for others.”
First, second and third prize winners were announced on July 1, International Reggae Day.
Marley said she is already looking forward to next years groups of entries.
Submissions for 2020 can be made to song@
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