The Ancestral Call for Return: Start here. End (t)here

Submitted by Tara Inniss, Department of History and Philosophy, The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus

Some of us in Barbados and the Diaspora saw some posts and short videos on social media this past weekend showing a ceremony taking place in Ghana of Barbadian officials burying the “remains” of an “unknown” enslaved African burial/space from Barbados to Africa. Those present described it as a very emotional experience. I have no doubt that it was. Confronting the theft of our culture and the erasure of lives lived during enslavement in Barbados is an extremely visceral experience that would touch any one of us if we had the opportunities to do so.

When we take our students to the spaces that exist here in Barbados, it is also an emotional experience. If I were to describe it, I would say the emotion is more of revelation and connection than it is of reflection and communion. It is a revelation simply because they did not know that these spaces existed. There are no signposts. There are no pathways or guided markers. If there is a sign upon arrival, it is likely a plaque describing something that was – not is. They are forced to reflect on the fact that these spaces are not a valued part of their heritage. They never even learned about them in school. In fact, they never really learned their own history. We reflect on that. Together.

There must be many places on this island that hold the remains of our enslaved ancestors. Unfortunately, we are only aware of three that have been documented archaeologically – all of which faced threats to their protection and at least one, which was completely destroyed. These are the burial spaces at Newton Slave Burial Ground which is now the property of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS); Fontabelle Slave and Free Coloured Burial Ground which was destroyed by Government to make way for the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) Small Business Development Building; and at least one burial that was excavated during development at the Pier Head likely in the vicinity of the Royal African Company’s Barracoons where newly arrived African captives were landed before being sold off to enslavers in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean. The area is better known today as the Barbados Tourism and Investment (BTI) Inc. car park in Bridgetown.

The Barbadian landscape — past and present — is such that we have little documentation on the burials of hundreds of thousands of Africans and their enslaved descendants after living, working and dying here. We know they exist, but we do not know where they are. Plantation records, if they exist and accessible, had been silent and certainly the changing nature of sugar production, estate ownership and residential patterns of a landless emancipation in this island have rendered people’s memories of these spaces either fragile or absent. The majority of enslaved Africans in Barbados were not allowed to be buried in the well-known parish cemeteries on this island as they were not ‘Christian’ and there was complete denial of their religion and spirituality. But they had to bury their dead somewhere – and the places that were selected for them to confer their own rites for their departed were often on the most marginal land of the plantation – usually not suitable for sugar or other agricultural production.

In the case of the burial space at Fontabelle, this was land that was given for this expressed purpose by Joseph Rachell (1716-66) who was widely regarded as the first free black businessman in Barbados.1 He recognised that the slave and free coloured communities of Bridgetown did not have anywhere to bury their dead so he gave them land to do so. Unfortunately, these spaces have been largely lost to time. Having little access to the somewhat permanent materials that we traditionally associate with grave sites, such as tombstones or other memorials, all that may remain is some of the plantings of tress and shrubs that we know helped the enslaved and free find their dead.


1 The irony here, of course, is that there is no memorial to Joseph Rachell, an early example of an enterprising black Barbadian, whose own grave was moved in street communities of Bridgetown did not have anywhere to bury their dead so he gave them land to do so. Unfortunately, these spaces have been largely lost to time. Having little access to the somewhat permanent materials that we traditionally associate with grave sites, such as tombstones or other memorials, all that may remain is some of the plantings of tress and shrubs that we know helped the enslaved and free find their dead.

That is why when we have found them here or in other parts of the Caribbean or the rest of the Americas they are quite special on a number of levels. Although an estimated 12.5 million enslaved Africans came to the Americas, there are only a handful of burial spaces that have been located – largely by accident – during archaeological surveys prior to modern construction. Among these are the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City, USA and Valongo Wharf Arcaheological, a UNESCO World Heritage Property in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There have been other excavations in the region including the house-yard slave burials at Seville Estate in Jamaica as well as others in the French-speaking Caribbean. It is important to note that controversies have existed over the movement of ancestral remains of enslaved peoples as well as other artifacts within and outside of state borders for a number of reasons.

Newton Slave Burial Ground is special because it is the only extant communal slave burial ground that has been found in the region, quite possibly in the Americas. That means that we know that the burials at Newton were those of persons enslaved at Newton. When Jerome Handler uncovered the location of the burials at Newton in the 1970s, it spurred an entire new field of archaeological and historical investigation into the cultural and biological history of Africans in the Americas. It is still used today as a benchmark field study for archaeologists and historians globally. And, unlike the rest of the island’s plantation history, Newton Plantation is one of the best-documented estates in the island. That means that we know a lot about the slave community at Newton – stories of maronnage, landmark court cases for freedom; gender dynamics; resistance; even names and family groups for certain time periods. The enslaved community at Newton is not anonymous.

But are these burial spaces quite special to us as a country? That is a categorical No. I know about them because I learned about them while doing history and archaeology at The UWI, Cave Hill. My knowledge of them largely derives from the work we did with Dr. Karl Watson as undergraduate and postgraduate students. In fact, I was there with him and other students when we tried to do rescue archaeology of only a handful of what was hundreds, maybe thousands of burials at Fontabelle in the early 2000s under severe pressure from the contractor with heavy equipment that had destroyed most of the site and with it one of the largest known slave and free coloured urban burial grounds in the Caribbean. Approximately 1000 burials were destroyed! That was an emotional, visceral experience too as we bulldozed a sacred space belonging to our ancestors as a consequence of “development”.

Most people today are not aware of burials at Newton, Fontabelle or Pier Head. Most people do not even know where the Newton Slave Burial Ground is; and if you went you would have to drive up to the back of an industrial park, walk a short hike through a cart road in a cane ground and stare at a rolling field which is usually overgrown so you cannot see the burial mounds. You will be greeted by a molded over Barbados Slave Route sign which is part of a now defunct Ministry of Tourism project. At Fontabelle, all there is to mark what was is a small plaque at the entrance of the BIDC complex. And at Pier Head — well we all park our cars there to go on to do our shopping in town and rarely contemplate the suffering and bewilderment of arrival that took place under our feet.

These are places of return too! These are sites of memory for the slave trade and slavery right here in Barbados! Look what we have done with them. Nothing. Destroyed them. Neglect them. They are not places of revelation or connection and certainly not places for reflection or communion. Most of us will never be able to visit a symbolic burial of ancestral “remains” in Ghana, or any other place on the West African coast although many of us may wish to. Why have we not done our work in Barbados to confront our own African past and to understand the identities that evolved because Africans were here? We have not done our work spiritually or otherwise to even ready ourselves for return. And it is my greatest regret as a daughter of the Diaspora that we have no place here in Barbados to honour our ancestors, even though they exist!

I say this in the light of what other communities in Barbados have done to reflect and commune with their own past and the value they have placed on sharing it with others. The recent redevelopment of the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and its environs demonstrates an enduring commitment by the Jewish community to not only honor their presence here but also to share in that recognition with others, including memorializing the historic location of Codd’s House where our emancipation was read aloud for the first time on our soil (also destroyed by Government in the 1980s). I also look to a small group of dedicated persons who cleared and restored a Quaker Burial Ground – there is not even a Quaker presence on the island having been driven out by persecution in the 17th century! But this space was regarded as having significance and is maintained as such. We can say that since Independence, a majority African-descended Government of Barbados has invested little in the spaces that symbolize the survival and sacrifice of our African ancestors – in fact, we can say that there has been a legacy of neglect and destruction to remove our this past from our landscape.

I am calling on our Government to recognize these failings in our past decision-making of erasure and neglect and with a fervent plea: do not relegate our own heritage to the dust-pile of history. Please respect, protect and value our own archaeological and historical past. Please see archaeology as a friend, not foe to our country’s development and knowledge about ourselves. Please invest in our archives and repositories of memory. Please make this history known in our schools and museums. These are spaces for peace-building and community. These are places that can instill the pride we all feel slipping away.

If 2020 is the year of return for Barbadians, please let it to be spaces like Newton Slave Burial Ground that show the value we place on this history with sensitive interpretation where we can do more than reveal and connect but also to reflect and commune.

We do not have these spaces.

We cannot go on these emotional journeys.

We cannot truly free our ancestral call for return without them.

Start here. End (t)here

118 comments

  • WELL WORTH REPEATING..

    “Our ambition should be to form economic, social and political links with communities from the African diaspora and mother Africa. Whilst steering a wide berth from government interference.”

    ….cause these parliament clowns might get it in their heads they are taking some kinda tribe of Bajans to Africa…the tribes where Bajans originated ARE ALREADY IN AFRICA..

    .do not let Caribbean, particularly the Bajan government INTERFERE or GET INVOLVED in any personal plans you have to return or encourage your future generations to return to Africa or to connect to Africa…NO ONE NEEDS THEM.. for that journey….all of whcih you can learn on your own in order to assimilate into an African society.

    they have always been USELESS on that front re African education for Bajans etc, they won’t get any better with their pretend conservative euro personas, practices and behaviors.

    Like

  • @ Talking loud Saying Nothing

    I hear you about building this wall to protect the youth in our communities but I will ask you how would this enfranchisement work?

    Observe this item TLSN

    “… Permanent residents may be able to receive citizenship after “three years ordinary residence in Barbados” or a total of 1,095 days.

    Ordinary residence will be defined as lawful residence for half of the year, 183 days in every year.

    Hinkson said: “This will be another platform for people to become citizens of Barbados other than by birth, descent, adoption or marriage.”

    – Permanent residents who have already been living here for more than seven years will be “grandfathered into citizenship”

    – Spouses and dependents who accompany a CARICOM Skilled National living and working here would be entitled to first become permanent residents and then ultimately citizens by way of time spent in Barbados.

    Skilled nationals living here for the past seven years will be able to apply for permanent residence…”

    Here Talking Loud Saying Nothing is Mugabe Mottley’s bid for a second term

    AND REVEREND JOSEPH ATHERLEY, purported plant of Mia Mottley, remaining totally silent as a series of actions to dilute the makeup of Barbadians is happening right in front of our faces!

    How can we protect Bajans from this disenfranchisement TLSN?

    Tell be how with almost 50 murders AND NO OPTIONS FOR THESE SAME YOUTH @ 2019, is that construct of which you speak, going to be built?

    Are you thinking that they will be groundsmen at Hyatt Zika? Sorry Ziva not Zika!

    But my fellow citizen THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN VOTING FOR, FOR 35 YEARS, FAECES!!

    SOFT JOBBY AND HUMAN EXCREMENT which we revere constantly!

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  • @ Piece the Legend, ” Ordinary residence will be defined as lawful residence for half of the year, 183 days in every year.”

    Guess the minister been googling.

    U.S. law limits Canadians to stays of 182 days — about six months — every year.

    http://looniesandtoonies.com/frame_info4_canadians.htm

    Like

  • @Piece The Legend,
    I posted that link this morning under Hal’s native son post.

    Can you imagine Israel, who by the way charged their prime minister today with corruption, opening up themselves to mass immigration? They made the decision that they would have an immigration policy that would encourage the Jewish diaspora to return to Israel.

    The new immigration policy is further confirmation of the utter contempt that the government has for their own people.

    Whilst Mia has no significant challengers it becomes imperative that communities from St Lucy to St Philips combine their numbers with the aim of developing a strong political, social and economic base that would have the force to neutralise the established parties.

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  • @ Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    Well said when you said and I quote

    “…Whilst Mia has no significant challengers [ AND I PIECE ADD, AT THIS TIME] it becomes imperative that communities from St Lucy to St Philips combine their numbers with the aim of developing a strong political, social and economic base that would have the force to neutralise the established parties…”

    Residency should be a requirement for citizenship.

    Citizenship should require 5 years residency or 3 continuous years of national service in a job such as the military or other critical services, other than a job in which national secrets would be exposed to that party.

    Residents SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO VOTE.

    THE OFFICE OF THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION and the Ombudsman should have access to all resident applications and should be able to lodge objections to all resident applications.

    This is no different to what obtains overseas at this time barring the oversight functions suggested

    And, because citizenship issues has such an impact potentially, on the outcome of elections in Barbados, one thinks that this additionality would be desirable

    Like

  • https://www.cnc3.co.tt/press-release/breaking-govt-announces-weed-free-law?fbclid=IwAR0LYt6T8FHbGRDc9jTRsmeGeU-PAgxrxbwc6-WkkWxzNcUNVn71H6RH5Xo#.Xdc-dSdnVzI.facebook

    Let’s see if the Mia government is still hellbent with their slavemaster mentality in keeping Black Bajans IN BONDAGE using the marijuana plant…now that the earth is being REMOVED from under their feet and their dirty plans being UP ENDED by other countries that are making sure their people are FREE….

    Now that the people are fully aware that all both black governments ever have in mind for their people is PRISON TIME…..treat the house negros in parliament accordingly..

    ..their masters have already exposed them for the no good garbage they are, don’t even seem to want to be their masters anymore but STILL these sows are bending themselves in half to maintain a slave society…..with violation of human rights at the very TOP.

    Like

  • Since this happened, nearly 48 hours ago, i have been waiting to see if Barbados’ HALF-ASSED government controlled PIMP media published the story, BUT NOT THEM, they are not interested in letting the public know anything positive, don’t want them knowing anything that can FREE THEM MENTALLY.

    well as long as they got the memo…THAT BARBADOS’ MODERN DAY SLAVE SOCIETY WILL BE DISMANTLED…they can continue believing that they will be allowed to hide critical information from the black majority….that can negatively impact them and their future generations IF THEY DO NOT KNOW.

    maybe they still believe that all the money they spent trying to get and KEEPsocial media out of Barbados to keep the people in bondage and WITHOUT INFORMATION, has finally worked, i beg them to reconsider….lowlifes.

    “In a surprising turn of events, a key Congressional committee, the House Judiciary Committee, has voted to approve the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019, or H.R. 3884, which would effectively put an end to cannabis prohibition in the United States of America, on a federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.

    The bill also stipulates the potential expungement of certain federal cannabis convictions—with expenses being covered by a small excise tax imposed on the legal cannabis industry, as well as the creation of a Cannabis Justice Office focused on reinvesting resources into communities most affected by prohibition. Finally, if fully passed, the law would allow the Small Business Administration to issue loans and grants to marijuana-related businesses, and provide a green light for physicians in the Veterans Affairs system to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, as long as they abide by state specific laws.”

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  • This what the PUBLIC NUISANCES in the parliament should be making MANDATORY as education in the schools….TEACH REAL HISTORY.

    teach the majority black population about self,

    teach them what really happened,

    teach them how to UNDO THE DAMAGE,

    teach them how to RECONNECT,

    “February 10, 2018 ·
    Malcolm X on mothers Language.
    No Nation Can Rise Above The Level Of It’s Women.”0môwálé, Malcolm X
    They experimented on the mental states of our women, it is our duty as men to gain knowledge of our creator and self, so we can restore them.

    “The slave maker knew that he couldn’t make these people slaves until he first made them DUMB. And one of the best ways to make a man DUMB is to take his tongue, take his language. A man who can’t talk, what do they call him? A DUMMY. Once your language is gone, you are a DUMMY. You can’t communicate with people who are your relatives, you can never have access to information from your family—you just can’t communicate.

    Also, if you’ll notice, the natural tongue that one speaks is referred to as one’s MOTHER TONGUE—MOTHER TONGUE. And the natural intelligence that a person has before he goes to school is called mother wit. Not father wit—it’s called MOTHER wit because everything a child knows before it gets to school, it learns from its MOTHER, not its father. And if it never goes to school, whatever native intelligence it has, it got it primarily from its MOTHER, not its father; so it’s called mother wit. And the mother is also the one who teaches the child how to speak its language, so that the natural tongue is called the mother tongue. Whenever you find as many people as we who aren’t able to speak any mother tongue, why, that’s evidence right there something was done to our mother. Something had to have happened to her.

    They had laws in those days that made it mandatory for a Black child to be taken from its mother as fast as that child was born. The mother never had a chance to rear it. The child would be brought up somewhere else away from the mother, so that the mother couldn’t teach the child what she knew—about itself, about her past, about its heritage. It would have to grow up in complete darkness, knowing nothing about the land where it came from or the people that it came from. Not even about its own mother. There was no relationship between the Black child and its mother; it was against the law. And if the master would ever find any of those children who had any knowledge of its mother tongue, that child was put to death. They had to stamp out the language; they did it scientifically. If they found any one of them that could speak it, off went its head, or they would put it to death, they would kill it, in front of the mother, if necessary. This is history; this is how they took your language. You didn’t lose it, it didn’t evaporate—they took it with a scientific process, because they knew they had to take it to make you dumb, or into the dummy that you and I now are.

    I read in some books where it said that some of the slave mothers would try and get tricky. In order to teach their child, who’d be off in another field somewhere, they themselves would be praying and they’d pray in a loud voice, and in their own language. The child in the distant field would hear his mother’s voice, and he’d learn how to pray in the same way; and in learning how to pray, he’d pick up on some of the language. And the master found that this was being done, and immediately he stepped up his efforts to kill all the little children that were benefiting from this. And so it became against the law even for the slave to be caught praying in his tongue, if he knew it. It was against the law. You’ve heard some of the people say they had to pray with their heads in a bucket. Well, they weren’t praying to the Jesus that they’re praying to now. The white man will let you call on that Jesus all day long; in fact he’ll make it possible for you to call on him. If you were calling on somebody else, then he’d have more fear of it. Your calling on that somebody else in that other language—that causes him a bit of fear, a bit of fright.[…]

    For three hundred years we stayed at that level. Finally we got to where we had no language, no history, no name. The white man named us after himself—Jones, Smith, Johnson, Bunche, and names like those. [Laughter] We couldn’t speak our own language; we had none. And he then began to teach us that we came from a jungle, where the people had no language. This was the crime that was committed—he convinced us that our people back home were savages and animals in the jungle, and the reason we couldn’t talk was because we never had a language. And we grew up thinking that we never had one.”

    Æmôwálé, Malcolm X”

    Like

  • https://trinidadexpress.com/newsextra/the-elites-smoking-weed-for-the-longest-while-says-pm/article_1210bee4-0d3c-11ea-b6fc-57969fe1918d.html?fbclid=IwAR0Gy_Zmk_VAoqZusTlkaXR4wCGSwApB8uS4PM7XlYQmjqvi7NLhTtuKXgs#utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

    This is why i can never like politicians…so this one did not know about social justice since the 70s, not one politician in the Caribbean did, every one of them were happy to lock up people for marijuana, especially black people but since they KNEW the feds were reviewing the marijuana….now everyone of these creeps are suddenly social justice champions….allowing all their low class friends they consider high society elites to smoke and traffick as they like without any consequences….. now all they can pretend to see is social justice and human rights….hypocrites..

    all except for the demons in Barbados parliament who STILL can’t find their voices since the earth was MOVED from beneath them….interesting to hear what they gotta say, if they can ever find the words..

    politicians are a major embarrassment, Caribbean people should never follow them or take them seriously, definitely should NEVER demean and degrade yourself to be yardfowl to any of these fools..

    Like

  • BUT:

    even Trinidad KNOWS you do not violate the rights of Rasta, you do not try to enslave, trick, discriminate against , steal from them, destroy them and their families….because ya got shite people to impress..

    ya definitely do not try STEAL THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY AND THEIR FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL NEED.

    “Muller said she would be listening for details on licences being issued to the Rastafarian group. She said the Rastafarians have suffered for years in full knowledge of politicians.

    “I am hoping there will be some sort of reparations because I hear the Prime Minister talking about social justice but I haven’t heard anything about reparation for those who have served time and convicted for this plant,” she said.

    She called on the government to education officers of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Serve (TTPS) on the laws relating to marijuana, as they would be required to enforce the laws.

    She explained that marijuana was a herb and not similar to alcohol or tobacco.

    “Cannabis is nowhere as dangerous, it is not dangerous. It should and will be removed from the scheduling as a dangerous drug in the United States by the United Nations,” she said.

    Muller announced the formation of the Trinidad and Tobago Union of Ganga Farmers, which would seek to assist small farmers.

    “I already have a team in mind and we are going to be rolling out a union like any union to represent the interest of small farmers traditional grower and the Rastafarai. To offer training, lobby for their rights access to water, roads and subsidies. This is a very serious industry in terms of what we can do in terms of medicine and food,” she said”.

    Like

  • @ WURA-WAR-on-U November 22, 2019 2:25 PM
    “BUT:
    even Trinidad KNOWS you do not violate the rights of Rasta, you do not try to enslave, trick, discriminate against , steal from them, destroy them and their families….because ya got shite people to impress..

    ya definitely do not try STEAL THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY AND THEIR FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL NEED.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In the light of what T&T is about to do about the decriminalization of marijuana why are the Bajan politicians insulting and making a mockery of God?

    How come it is acceptable (morally, spiritually and, soon to be, legally) for some people to ‘smoke’ marijuana while they are in the adoration and worship of some invisible being called Jah but the consumption of the same plant in your kitchen is deemed still to be an awful sin worthy of punishment of spending time in prison?

    What kind of god are these wicked men and women worshipping to allow them to pass such a hypocritically discriminatory piece of legislation?

    God is now a mock man who can’t tell the difference between Doctor Cannabis, Reverend Sativa and the recreational whore called Mary the quite contrary Jane.

    What a blatantly wicked breach of the Constitution!

    Why don’t they criminalize the consumption of alcohol at all taxpayers’ funded events?

    Where is a Bajan called Guy Fawkes when he is wanted most?

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  • “What kind of god are these wicked men and women worshipping to allow them to pass such a hypocritically discriminatory piece of legislation?”

    Miller……. ALL OF THEM MADE THE SAME MISTAKE regarding Marijuana and Rastas each and every Caribbean governemnt and for DECADES…, am so not impressed by these joke politicians/ministers most of whom are lawyers and DUMB AS ROCKS..

    look how STUPID they all look now cause ya know the boast about being the best at everything, highest literacy rate, best slaves in the Caribbean according to Billy the Goat……best this, best that…

    ALL DELUSIONAL ….and they can blame no one but themselves…

    Barbados MADE SURE to stand out and SHOWED the whole world……HOW NOT TO BE A STUPID GOVERNMENT that is now the best at being a LAUGHING STOCK….

    Like

  • @ WURA-WAR-on-U November 22, 2019 5:17 PM

    The main reason why these lying politicians cum la(w)yers do not want to decriminalize fully the use of cannabis and to make it legally available to any adult called John Citizen is because legal cases involving marijuana represent a steady source of income from the underground economy for these greedy bastards with their get-rich-quick mentality.

    The law enforcement agencies might have to look for more legally taxing white collar crimes to investigate and prosecute.

    But the decriminalization of mary jane might just provide the BERT-induced opportunity to solve the so-called manpower shortage allegedly afflicting the RBPF and the wider criminal justice system.

    Like

  • Miller…ya are saying things that only you, i and some others can see, those with no vision see nothing and ya done know the fools in parliament who always want it to be business as usual at the supreme court, cases backlogged, corruption, this, that….can only see their next harebrained scheme.

    we know they know that they are currently in what the older folk called “potta” and not a fella got sympathy for them, they should be beaten with whips and chains..in memory of their ancestors.

    Like

  • And just in case they are still missing the point and believe they will still be allowed to continue their slave society exploits using the marijuana plant…

    “On Wednesday, members of Congress did something that they had never done before. For the first time ever, a body of the U.S. Congress voted to end cannabis’s nearly century-long status as a federally prohibited substance.

    By a vote of more than two to one, members of the United States House Judiciary Committee passed legislation, House Bill 3884: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act.

    The MORE Act removes the marijuana plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby enabling states to enact their own cannabis regulations free from undue federal interference. The vote marks the first time that members of Congress have ever voted to federally deschedule cannabis.

    According to a 2018 Quinnipiac University poll, 70 percent of U.S. voters support this policy change. To date, 33 states have enacted laws regulating patients’ access to medical cannabis and nearly one in four Americans reside in a state where the adult use of marijuana is permitted.

    It is inappropriate for the federal government to continue to either interfere with or stand in the way of these voter-initiated policies.

    Members’ decision to move forward with the MORE Act is significant. This act is the most comprehensive marijuana reform bill ever introduced in Congress, and it’s backed by a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, drug policy, and immigration groups.

    This legislation seeks to address the millions of Americans who suffer from the stigma and lost opportunities associated with a low-level marijuana possession conviction. It provides funding and inducements to states to enact policies that expunge these criminal convictions from citizens’ records so that they can more successfully move on with their lives.

    And it also seeks to assist America’s military veterans by, for the first time, permitting physicians associated with the Veterans Administration the authority to recommend medical cannabis therapy to patients who reside in legal marijuana states.

    It also permits those players in the existing state-legal marijuana industry access to banking and other necessary financial services.

    Currently, federal law mandates that this multibillion dollar industry operate on a cash-only basis – an environment that makes businesses more susceptible to theft and more difficult to audit. Growing a successful business is hard enough. Doing so without access to banking and credit is even tougher. The MORE Act ensures that these state-compliant businesses, and those millions of Americans who patronize them, are no longer subject to policies that needlessly place them in harm’s way.

    Commenting on the bill just prior to the vote, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) acknowledged that more than two in three Americans believe that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legal, according to the most recent national polling. He added: “States have led the way and continue to lead the way, but our federal laws have not kept pace with the obvious need for change. We need to catch up because of public support [in favor of legalizing marijuana] and because it is the right thing to do.”

    It is for these reasons that members of the full House should now take up this issue on the House floor. Not only does this bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it also provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered the most under federal criminalization.

    It is time for Congress to right the past wrongs of the federal war on marijuana and for every member to show their constituents which side of history they stand on.

    Justin Strekal is the political director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation’s laws to no longer discriminate against its consumers. “

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  • Watch them try to undo the damage THEY THEMSELVES CREATED, well they got a lot of UNDOING TO DO….STUPID…from the 1970s. Ah hope they know the Rastas want NOTHING TO DO THEM THEM…

    they are liars and abusers, no one has the time of day for house negros, let them carry on smartly.

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/11/22/marijuana-no-devil-drug-says-forde/

    “With Government seeking to create a thriving medicinal marijuana industry and to allow the Rastafarian community to use it for sacramental purposes, a Member of Parliament is contending that the plant should no longer be referred to as “the devil drug”.

    Minister of Youth and Community Empowerment Adrian Forde, a trained pharmacist, said that while in the past marijuana was described as the worst drug in the world, modern science has proven that it has the best therapeutic index (used to compare the therapeutically effective dose to the toxic dose by a pharmaceutical agent) when compared to other drugs.

    He explained that a person would be required to smoke 1,500 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes to get a lethal dose, but also compared the impact with chemicals derived from foods.

    Forde said: “Meanwhile, solanine that is extracted from English potatoes.

    “If you were to take ten English potatoes and ate all at once you would die from a lethal dose of solanine, as compared to marijuana that you would have to smoke 1 500 pounds.

    “And when you look at all the drugs that are psychoactive drugs in Barbados, marijuana is probably the safest drug.

    “We are talking about a drug, that is safer than aspirin, an over the counter medicine. Aspirin kills hundreds of people a year.”

    Forde said that while there were arguments against the use of the drug, especially as it relates to its negative influence on human behaviour, evidence has showed that in most cases, marijuana was often used with another substance.

    Forde also hinted the fact that alcohol is also a psychoactive drug.

    “Must I say, that [while] there are cases where persons were using marijuana, when there were further investigations into these cases, you recognise the obvious, marijuana was used in combination with alcohol, combination with other narcotics, and you would hear youngsters talk about the blackies, when [marijuana] is mixed with cocaine.

    “When you look at the details, you would recognise that the combination is what caused the problem.”

    Forde defended the use of the drug as he made his contribution to the Sacramental Cannabis Bill, debated in Parliament today.

    The Minister of Youth said it was high time it was recognised that the Rastafarian community was apart of society and should be allowed to use marijuana for sacramental purposes under controlled legislation.

    He argued that the community has not only used the drug for sacramental use, but also for medicinal and other benefits.

    Forde said: “The drug marijuana is a safe product. It has a lot of medicinal benefits.”

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  • Ah hope they know the Rastas want NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM…they can promise up and down the damn place…they are NOT STEALING ANY KNOWLEDGE MEANT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

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  • Scum talking out what other scum did.

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