VETERAN reggae artiste Bunny Wailer is encouraging Jamaicans to plant a ganja seed in memory of Mario Deane.
"On October 11, the Rastafari community, through the Rastafari Millennium Council, will lead the nation in planting an organic sensimilla seed in our sacramental spaces in memory of Mario Deane, and let the brutality of his sacrifice bloom organically into the Mario Deane Sensi, that in six months will be harvested and brought to Jamaica House, King's House and Gordon House in April 2015, as the new budget is read," Wailer told the Jamaica Observer.
Deane, 31, died on August 6 as a result of injuries received while in police custody after being arrested for a ganja 'spliff'. He was being held at Barnett Street Police Lock-Up in Montego Bay, St James.
His funeral is scheduled for the Mount Salem Seventh-day Adventist Church in Salem, Montego Bay, on September 21, at 11:00 am. Interment follows in the family plot in Hanover.
Wailer, a member of the Rastafari Millennium Council, is calling for an amnesty for people convicted with small portions of the herb, considered a sacrament by Rastafari.
"This amnesty of one pound of uncompressed ganja would immediately remove the criminalising actions that have caused such untold damage to our young brothers. This I can completely relate to, as I had to serve 18 months for a spliff at hard labour in Richmond Prison in St Mary [in 1967], for a case — that I later learned in my career — was withdrawn, and that I should never have gone to prison," he said.
Wailer said that the lesson to be learned is that there is urgent need to create a physical and psychological space to 'reason' around ganja.
To facilitate the discourse, Wailer is organising the eastern chapter of the National Council of the Ganja Industry, through the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association, and launching this Chapter on October 11 in Morant Bay, St Thomas.
An original member of The Wailers, Bunny Wailer's [given name Neville Livingston] music career began in 1964 when he joined forces with Winston 'Peter Tosh' McIntosh and Bob Marley.
They recorded several ska and hardcore reggae songs before Tosh and Wailer pursued solo careers in 1973.