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Rastas call for right to use ganja

Rastas call for right to use ganja

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The local Rastafarian community has again set out to defend what it says is its constitutional right to use marijuana.{{more}}

This comes after the recent arrest of two members of the Nyahbingi community at their place of worship.

“It is an issue of our constitutional right to use the herb. (It) is an issue that impacts not just the Nyahbingi House, but on the entire Rastafari community,” Empress Modupe Olufunmi-Jacobs, Assistant Public Relations Officer of the Defense Committee for the Order of the Nyahbingi, told SEARCHLIGHT.

Empress Modupe said the group was formed following a meeting which was held on September 4, which was convened to chart a way forward as the local Rastafari community looks to address the issue it contends is an infringement on its constitutional rights.

“This thing boils down to, do we have rights as is based on the constitution, which allow for the freedom of conscience that no one should impede,” Empress Modupe asked.

“The constitution outlines the basic tenets that we as a cultural and as a religious community are entitled to,” she continued.

“Are we going to be denied that because there is the 1979 Drug Act which stands in total contradiction?”

Empress Modupe noted that the area of contention is whether or not the state has a right to enter the Rastafarians place of worship on any grounds.

“What that takes us back to is that when this nation was first grounded, particular religions were being persecuted until Parliamentary legislation deemed them illegal,” she said, adding that there was nothing wrong with coming to the conclusion that the rights of the Rastafarian community are being violated and the challenge was to have its rights respected.

While acknowledging the aspect of marijuana use which deals with delinquency, Empress Modupe also contended that not all members of the Rastafarian community smoke marijuana.

“There are some who ingest it in other ways, so it’s about the holistic use of the herb,” she said.

So now, the Order of the Nyahbingi has called on all Rastafarians to come together on the matter.

“This is the time now to put aside all differences and denominational ideologies and to come to this issue,” Empress Modupe said, adding that the role was to also sensitize the general public on the issue and for persons to see how essential the issue is to the Rastafarian community.

“It is more than just allowing a man to smoke a spliff, but there is a greater struggle than that,” she said. (DD)

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