Jamaican singer Sean Paul spoke out in a recent interview against his home island’s real social issues regarding drug policing and cannabis legalization — and his plans to get into the legal weed game himself.
The “We Be Burnin’” emcee’s authority on fall-out from the drug war comes from real life experience. His father was arrested by the US Coast Guard when Paul was was nine, after Dad’s plane crashed in the Florida Everglades carrying 700 pounds of cannabis.
The experience hardly soured Paul on the drug itself. Throughout his career, which took off with the international success thanks to 2002’s “Gimme the Light,” many of his hits — often co-starring fellow Jamaican artists — have celebrated cannabis consumption, like “Ganja Breed” with Chico and “Weed Problems” with Chi Ching Ching.
Paul’s rise as an artist has coincided with the increasing acceptance of cannabis in his home country. Jamaica decriminalized small-scale possession and personal cultivation with 2015’s Dangerous Drugs Amendment Act. But Paul says consumers and producers continue to be targeted by the cops.
“Cannabis had been decriminalized here in Jamaica, but there’s still an overwhelming number of people who are in prison because they were smoking a spliff or had an ounce bag,” he said. “I’ve seen the same politicians and lawyers and doctors that used to say, ‘It’s a maddening thing, it’s going to drive you crazy, it’s a gateway drug, don’t do it’ now turn around and say how beneficial it is.”
The same 2015 legislation established a legal medical marijuana industry, which has become a magnet for foreign investment. Paul made it clear in the interview that such commercial regulation has held few benefits for the island’s small farmers, whose crops also suffered under strict pandemic curfew enforcement.
“Politicians are taking money from big businessmen and forcing out the real farmers who cultivated the good stuff,” he said. Moreover, as a consumer, he thinks that legal weed is less than preferable. “For me, dispensaries are a good thing,” Paul commented. “But almost all their weed tastes like cardboard.”
Nonetheless, the artist says he has his sights on getting into the legal weed business himself — specifically, to fill the need for healthy cannabis edibles.
“Edibles can help a lot if a person can’t smoke, but if that person is sick with diabetes then these edibles are gonna kill him because they’re full of sugar!” he said. “I’m in the process of trying to make edibles that are more healthy, and for now I’m also developing my own strain of smokes that people can enjoy.”
Paul isn’t the only musical legend to announce intentions to stock your stash this week. Lil’ Kim made headlines when she shared plans to drop a line of cannabis products called “Aphrodisiac.”
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