Title of Article
LEGALISATION OF MARIJUANA FOR RELIGIOUS PRACTICES.
Rastafarianism is a religious movement among black Jamaicans that teaches the eventual redemption of blacks and their return to Africa, employs the ritualistic use of marijuana, forbids the cutting of hair, and venerates Haile Selassie as a god 1. It is now a recognised and practiced religion in many different parts of the world. However sacred rituals such as the use of marijuana which form parts of their belief are forbidden in some parts of the world. It is unjust to prevent a person from practicing their beliefs. The Rastafarian movement existed since the early 1920’s and their religious practices have been in existence since approximately the same period. Laws preventing the use of marijuana were only introduced after the constitution was introduced in 1962. The constitution states that a person has the right to freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance 2. Additionally other religions have similar religious practices which are not forbidden in any part of the constitution.
The Rastafarian movement is generally said to be founded on November 2nd 1930, the year Emperor Hailie Selassie I (1892-1975) was crowned, but based in a movement of the 1920s 3. The constitution was only introduced in 1962 when Trinidad and Tobago gained independence. Marijuana is used during the two main Rastafari rituals: reasonings and nyabingi. The reasoning is an informal gathering at which a small group of Rastas smoke ganja and engage in discussion. The nyabinghi is a dance held on Rasta holidays and special occasions. They sing and dance until the early hours of the morning. In the daytime, they “rest and reason” 3. The present day laws prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana that exist in the Caribbean were not strictly enforced until the 1960’s. The laws now force persons of this religion to change their religious practices or face unjust punishment. However if the laws were enforced before the movement was founded then the laws would have been justified to a greater extent and less opposable by those practicing the religion.
... being an assurance that laws do not target religion and are not created in an attempt to restrict religious practice. It is this policy ... an imposition on their religious practices, even the Amish would have been held to the law, but because the law’s central purpose didn ... , was planning on locating there. Santeria is a religion practiced in the Americas by the descendants of Africans; many of ...
ACT No. 4 of 1976 in the constitution states that in Trinidad and Tobago, there have existed and shall continue to exist without discrimination by reason of race, origin, colour, religion or sex the human rights and fundamental freedoms, enjoyed by each individual 2. The constitution states that a person has the right to freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance. Rastafarians believe that marijuana is the holy herb that God speaks of in Psalm 104:14: “He causeth the grass for the cattle and herb for the service of man,” of the Holy Bible 3. Laws enforcing the prohibitation of the use of marijuana therefore infringes on the rights on Rastafarians. Laws therefore, should be made to allow persons of all religions to practice their beliefs by way of performing rituals freely without discrimination.
Persons of different faiths observe their beliefs in many different forms. Hindus perform rituals using toolsie leaves 4, camphor and several other items, Muslims are allowed to wear their hijabs in public domains, Christians consume wine as a part of communion without restriction by way of law enforcement. Persons might argue that there exist several negative effects associated with the use of marijuana. This is a valid point in the cons of legalising marijuana use for religious practices. However alcoholics become addicted by consumption of even the smallest amounts of alcohol consumed. Alcohol use or abuse also has negative effects. However for person who does not become addicted to alcohol , small intakes, that is alcohol consumption in moderation for
... not seem like an appropriate response from a highly religious person. Facing death would be more of a problem for ... people in the foxholes. Now if a highly religious person went to war they would have a problem killing ... a religious person since they might die and won't have ... react if he did not believe in a religious figure that might possibly give him the chance ...
example for communion which is observed on a monthly basis may be considered safe. Therefore it is also within reason to recognise the fact that marijuana usage for religious purposes used in moderation without abuse is also a safe practice.
Rastafarians use marijuana for religious purposes, that is, to connect with God. Their religious beliefs and practices should therefore be acknowledged and respected just as other similar practices are permitted. Marijuana use and possession should therefore be legalised for the soul purpose of religious practices.
[ 1 ]. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. 2010. 15 October 2010
2nalisgov.1997. 15 October 2010
3Religionfacts.2004-2010. 15 October 2010
4mjlegal.1999-2002. 15 October 2010