“They destroyed me. They leave me stranded because I spend my money and I was depending on this.”
Fitz-Hughes farmer Hamilton Edwards made the comment on Wednesday in an interview twenty-four hours after police destroyed his marijuana plantation at an area called ‘Far Piece’ at Richmond, North Leeward.
Edwards said his marijuana farm was about one acre in size and the amount of marijuana destroyed was valued approximately $70,000-80,000 and he would be seeking compensation.
Edwards, a traditional marijuana farmer, said he made an application and paid the fee of $125.00 for a license to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes. He said he has not yet received the licensed but marijuana advocate Junior ‘Spirit’ Cottle, who appears to be functioning as a liaison between farmers and the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA), encouraged him to plant the marijuana while he awaited the license.
Edwards said police officers from the Rapid Response Unit, popularly called the ‘Black Squad,’ raided his farm around 1 p.m on Tuesday while he was in capital Kingstown. He said that according to information he received, the police took into their possession approximately 50-70 pounds of marijuana, set on fire about 50 pounds. He said they chopped down marijuana the trees, burned some and left some on the farm.
Asked how long he had the marijuana planted, Edwards said since the MCA started issuing licenses last year.
The first set of medicinal cannabis licenses were issued around April, last year.
It was said that representatives of the Medicinal Cannabis Authority had already visited Edwards’ farm and that there were other marijuana farms in the said location but nothing was done to them.
Cottle on the radio Tuesday night said he had encouraged Edwards to plant marijuana while he was awaiting the license.
The ganja farm was said to have been destroyed less than twenty-four hours after the opposition New Democratic Party’s vice president Roland ‘Patel’ Matthews, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Leeward, held a political meeting.
The belief has been expressed that there was a link between the political meeting and the raid of Edwards’ marijuana farm.
The North Leeward MP, calling to the Current Affairs interactive program on NICE Radio Tuesday night, said he had received electricity supply from Edwards’ son to conduct the meeting the night before.
Edwards on Tuesday confirmed that his son, Sydney Pierre, provided electricity for the political meeting.
Matthews said police arrested two persons when the raided Edwards’ farm.
Edwards, during the interview, identified the two persons as Errol Howe and Hewit Edwards of Fitzhughes. He said both men were believed to be in their mid-to-late forties.
Edwards said he called Cottle on the matter of the arrest of the two men and they were released from police custody without any charge laid against them.
Matthews said that prior to the passage of legislation in December 2018 to establish the medicinal cannabis industry, traditional marijuana farmers cultivated in the higher mountains. But since the passage of legislation and the promised amnesty and promises on the ground that their marijuana would be bought by investors, the traditional farmers started cultivating areas closer to home.