While Government seeks to accommodate the ritual use of marijuana by Rastafarians, some members of the dreadlocked faith have rebelled against having to acquire a special licence to do so.
In interviews with several Rastafarians, they told Barbados TODAY that they would not be governed by the new rules.
Following the announcement from Attorney General Dale Marshall that the State is to impose certain parameters since the herb is still prohibited, some Rastas have described as an insult their having to obtain a special licence to use what they declared “God has put on this earth for mankind”.
As he led off the debate on the Sacramental Cannabis Bill in the House of Assembly last Friday, Marshall revealed that Rastafari would be allowed to grow their own marijuana “sufficient for their use” in the precincts of their places of worship and must seek an exempt permit if they wish to use the “sacrament” at any religious event away from the temple.
The Attorney General also said home smoking of ganja would still be illegal and that Rastafarians would be prohibited from selling marijuana grown for religious purposes.
One Rastafarian defiantly declared: “I ain’t buying no licence to use marijuana.
“Why should I got to get a licence to plant marijuana?
“I getting a licence to plant marijuana to go up against the merchants?
“Them only doing that there because them know everybody ain’t going to be able to get the licence to plant no weed.”
He continued: “You feel that the small man will be able buy a licence to plant weed?
“And there will never be enough marijuana for worshipping. Men does smoke marijuana right through the worship and give thanks.”
Another Rastafarian suggested that Government revisit “this whole licence idea because no real Rastaman ain’t going for no licence to use what God put here for us”.
Mark Alexander questioned the Government’s motives behind the move to allow Rastafarians to use marijuana for sacramental use.
He told Barbados TODAY: “You want me to get a licence to use marijuana? That ain’t for me.
“You got to look for someone that law fitting because it ain’t fitting me.
“I ain’t waiting for no Government or nothing so to deal with spiritual value. I legalise marijuana since 1976 because I am not sitting down waiting for no man’s law to make my spiritual healing of the nation.”
But Robert Maloney said that while he is not in total agreement with the licence concept, he understands the rules were being put in place to maintain order.
“Jah Jah is the great giver and everything he give is purpose and along with that also comes law, which is order and which is proper usage of all things, not the marijuana alone,” Maloney said.
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