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Rastafarianism

  • Date Submitted: 11/19/2010 04:30 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 44.5 
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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...

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