The decision on whether an exemption is made for marijuana use for religious purposes should be left to Parliament a Supreme Court judge has ruled.
The August 1 decision came as a result of a constitutional motion filed by Lorenzo Stubbs, a practicing Rastafarian who was arrested in late December 2020 for being in possession of Indian hemp, approximately 1.6 ounces in weight, found in his kitchen.
Stubbs contended that Indian hemp is a sacred herb used as a sacrament in manifesting his faith as a Rastafarian, and he has a constitutional right to possess and use it. He challenged whether the freedom to manifest one’s religion, guaranteed by the Constitution, outweighs Parliament’s prerogative to make laws prohibiting the possession and use of substances considered harmful to the public interest but essential to certain religious beliefs.
Indian hemp is classified as a dangerous drug under the Dangerous Drugs Act 2000 with its possession being banned, except for very limited scientific and medical purposes by authorized personnel.
Stubbs however contended that the drug is a ‘sacred herb’, used as a sacrament in manifesting his faith as a Rastafarian and that he has a constitutional right to possess and use it.