Man Allegedly Murdered For Smoking Low-Quality "Bush Weed"
Soon after a pivotal law is passed reducing criminal punishments for weed, disaster strikes
Published on November 21, 2022

A man was allegedly killed by a drinking companion who took issue with the low-quality cannabis he was smoking, according to a local news publication. 

The murder took place at 3 a.m. in La Parfaite Harmonie, a community in Guyana, South America. Underwood was 32-years-old, and the suspect (whose name was withheld in coverage of the crime) is 29-years-old.

“Reports indicate that the men were at Policeman Corner imbibing when they had a misunderstanding over marijuana that the now deceased man was using because the suspect said it was ‘bush weed,’” stated a police report, according to news coverage.

“As a result, the suspect dealt the now deceased man a punch to the side of his head and a fight ensued. During the fight, the suspect whipped out a knife and dealt 32-year-old Underwood a single stab to his abdomen.”

Bush weed refers to cannabis of low quality. It's also known as schwag, brick weed, bammer weed, or dirt weed.

That sole blow was not enough to decapacitate Underwood, who was able to run away from his attacker before collapsing nearby. Though bystanders managed to get him to the West Demerara Regional Hospital, Underwood later died from the stab wound.

Meanwhile, the suspect managed to escape the scene of the alleged crime — at least, for a little while. Three hours after the alleged murder, the suspect was arrested and subsequently confessed to the crime at the Parfaite Harmonie police station.

Though cannabis of all qualities remains illegal in Guyana, the country made headlines earlier this month when it reduced the criminal sentences for the possession of up to 30 grams of the drug with the passage of its Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill. Though the offense used to be punished by jail time, individuals now will be required to go to counselling for possession up to 15 grams, or complete community service for possession up to 30 grams.

Such gradual progress may well be due to the determination of Guyana’s Rastafari community, which has for decades been advocating for the decriminalization of the drug. Rastas say that policing of the drug has been used as a tool for the persecution of their community, and even as justification of police raids on church grounds.

“People don’t want to be around Rastafari based on these false perceptions about the drug,” Ras Khafra of the Rasta Council told Vice.

In fact Georgetown, the community that is near where Sherwood was killed, has a mayor that has become an outspoken voice for cannabis access.

Such has been the determination of the pro-cannabis Rasta activists that the Inter-Religious Organisation of Guyana has backed some of their demands.

Follow Caitlin on Instagram, and catch her Spanish-language podcast Crónica on Spotify and Mixcloud. 

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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