Rastafarians move to court to seek legalisation of bhang consumption
By Kamau Muthoni | May 17th 2021
The Rastafari Society of Kenya (RSK) has filed a case in court seeking to lift the law criminalising the use of marijuana.
In the case, filed before High Court, they argue that the law is unconstitutional for banning the private use of cannabis by persons professing the Rastafari faith.
The legal minds are advocating for the state to let the Rastafarians use cannabis in their houses and places of worship; which the law says is illegal.
The Rastafarian lawyers Shadrack Wambui and Alexander Mwendwa argue that cannabis is a 'sacrament' used to connect a Rasta believer to their 'creator'.
“Cannabis can be spiritually referred to as bhang, marijuana, holy herb, kushungpeng, tire, ndom, vela, gode and kindukulu,” they added.
They said marijuana is used by adherents of the faith for medicinal, culinary and ceremonial purposes as evinced in their Holy Book called ‘Holy Piby’.
According to the lawyers representing the Rastafarians, the verse which allows them to smoke marijuana is referred to as ‘Nebra Negas (Glory of Kings) or through ‘reasoning’ which involves the use of cannabis in their tabernacles.
The plaintiff wants the court to quash section 3(2) (a) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act.
The section states that any person guilty of an offence in respect of cannabis, where the person satisfies the court that the cannabis was intended solely for his own consumption, to imprisonment for ten years and in every other case to imprisonment for twenty years.
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