Rastafari gain sacramental rights to marijuana in Antigua and Barbuda, celebrate freedom of worship
- Associated Press News · Jun 2, 2023
LIBERTA, Antigua (AP) — On the same ground where their enslaved ancestors were forced to plant sugar cane, Rastafari on this small island nation are now legally growing and ritualistically smoking marijuana.
For Rastafari, the practice brings them closer to the divine. But for decades, many have been jailed and endured racial and religious profiling by law enforcement because of their marijuana use.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda has sought to right that wrong. The twin islands recently became one of the first Caribbean nations to grant Rastafari authorization to grow and smoke their sacramental herb.
“We’re more free now,” said Ras Tashi, a member of the Ras Freeman Foundation for the Unification of Rastafari, who was arrested several times for growing cannabis but refused to plead guilty because to him, “it’s a God-given plant.”
On a recent Sunday,…