Nairobi News


Legalise weed for religious use! – Rastafarian prophet

Prophet Mwendwa Wambua and the Rastafarian Society of Kenya (RSK), case seeking orders for the country to legalise the use of marijuana for religious purposes is set to be heard by a Nairobi Court.

The group of Rastafarians who filed the case at the High Court in 2021 is also seeking to block the arrest and prosecution of its members over the use of the substance known as cannabis sativa, or more popularly bhang.

It is also referred to as ndom, vela and kushungpeng.

They argue that the law is unconstitutional for banning the private use of cannabis by persons professing the Rastafari faith and also want to be allowed to use cannabis in their houses and places of worship.

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According to the lawyers representing the Rastafarians, the verse which allows them to smoke marijuana is referred to as ‘Nebra Negas’ (Glory of Kings) or through ‘reasoning’ which involves the use of cannabis in their tabernacles.

RSK wants the High Court to suspend sections 3 (1)(2)(a) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act.

The section states that any person guilty of an offence in respect of cannabis, where the person satisfies the court that the cannabis was intended solely for his consumption, is to be imprisoned for ten years and in every other case imprisoned for twenty years.

The Rastafarians argue the law enacted in 1994 is hostile and intolerant to persons professing the Rastafari faith, yet the Constitution is a progressive and accommodative document that protects marginalised groups, such as theirs.

“The use of cannabis, especially among members of RSK and any other person professing the Rastafari faith, is outlawed by dint of the said section, thus criminalising the Rastas’ spiritual use of cannabis, yet the manifestation of their religion enjoys constitutional protection,” the petition states.

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“We are in a new constitutional framework following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, which is progressive and accommodative of diversity, and protective of marginalised groups, which include members of RSK.”

In 2029, the High Court ordered schools not to expel students who keep dreadlocks.

The decision indicated that Rastafarianism is a religion just like any other and ought to be respected.

The judge also pointed out that the Constitution does not define what religion is but the dictionary does.

“This is the first-ever case in this country where a child dons rasta braids because of her religious beliefs, Rastafarianism is a religion which should also be accorded protection,” said Justice Enoch Chacha Mwita while giving his final verdict in a suit in which a father of a girl who was sent away from Olympic High School in Nairobi soon after being admitted in Form One.