Pubdate: Sun, 17 Feb 2008
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, The (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2008 The Gleaner Company Limited
Author: Michelle-Ann Letman
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


It is a long, rocky journey to the secluded rural community of Slipe 
in St Elizabeth. The unpaved, pothole-filled road leading into the 
small farming community is in a sate of disrepair.

Grazing cows in dry, dusty fields on either side of the road is a 
permanent feature of Slipe. The dwellings are well spaced, and it is 
obvious that the population density is low.

The strong smell of marijuana (weed/ganja) hits the nostrils as we 
manoeuvre our way on the bumpy road. Further on, a group of 
'spliff'-smoking young men stare suspiciously as the vehicle passes.

We stop to ask a resident of the community about the lifestyle of the 
residents of Slipe. "Wi farm illegal things," she tells us without 
hesitation. "What kind of illegal things? Weed. Everybody do it and 
everybody know, all in the swamp dem plant it," she replies.

"We just have to tek the risks, all if the police come cut it down, 
we nuh have nuh other choice," the young mother tells The Sunday Gleaner.

In Slipe, information is shared openly. Quickly apologising for not 
having any 'weed' ready to sell, a farmer points us in the direction 
of his friend.

"You know, mi nuh have none (weed)," he says, "but mek mi go check mi 
fren. See him a come down the road."

Always on Hand

His friend walks up to the vehicle and informs us that he has no weed 
available, but he is going to check to see if "elder have any." The 
farmer, dressed in a singlet and short pants, scales a wire fence in 
search of the 'ting'. He returns about five minutes later, gripping a 
black plastic bag tightly.

"Him seh you nuh affe pay still," he says when handing over the bag. 
We then make our way out of the ganja-farming community. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake