During my afternoon at UWI, I met this man, Lenny, who was selling his jewelery to Global Reggae Conference-goers. I asked about the T-shirt he was wearing, which advertised a website, www.caribbeanmandate.com, about the campaign to legalize ganja in Jamaica. It didn’t occur to me until talking with Lenny that, in a week’s worth of panel discussions and academic papers on myriad aspects of Jamaican music — from gender and sexuality in dancehall to religious transformations through reggae — the absence of any conversation of marijuana and its role in reggae music is startling. Please correct me if I am wrong, if I have overlooked a panel that focused on ganja. If I have not, I ask: Is marijuana still a taboo subject, even in an academic setting where reggae music is the focus? Can one adequately discuss all aspects of reggae music without a discussion of the role ganja has played in the creation and content of the music?
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