Rastafarian not getting hopes high on further meetings with govt on cannabis legislation


Tribune Staff Reporter


SOME leaders of the Rastafarian community hope they will meet government officials to advocate for changes to the proposed cannabis legislation.

The Office of the Attorney General released draft cannabis legislation in August that would let Rastafarian organisations get a religious use licence to distribute cannabis to members as a sacrament. The substance could only be used on the premises for which the licence or exempt event permit is issued.

However, leaders said most Rastafarians are part of the Bobo Ashanti, a mansion that does not use cannabis in tabernacles.

Yesterday, Jevon Thompson, chairman of the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress True Divine Church of Salvation, said he still hopes government officials will be convinced further to liberalise the substance’s use for religious purposes.

“We have a member of our community that is meeting with them, the Honourable Priest Rithmond McKinney,” he said. “I don’t know if anything can be done different from that. He’s meeting with them so our community, we’re going over the document to see what we like from what we dislike and seeing what changes can be made, what solutions, and then by the time we ready to have another collab with the government we’ll take it to our representative so he could take it to them.”

Mr Thompson said his community members met for three days last week to discuss the legislation. He said he is trying not to get his hopes high.

“You can’t get your hopes up too tough when you’re dealing with these kind of things,” he said. “You hope for the best, but the process takes some time. This is something new. This isn’t something that we usually deal with all the time. This is like we’re turning a new page or a new chapter, so it comes with the territory, and we didn’t necessarily want to rush it through because we want it done right.”