USA: U.S. Government vs. Beliefs of Rastafarian

Discussion in 'The Drug War Headline News' started by Lothar121, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. Lothar121 Lothar121

    • Seasoned Activist
    • Since: Feb 11, 2003
    • Posts: 2,802
    U.S. Government vs. Beliefs of Rastafarian
    Dawn Scales | The Daily O'Collegian | 08/25/2005

    For a while now, individuals have been discussing the legality of marijuana. Should it stay illegal or legal to the public, like it is in Amsterdam?

    Well, here’s a belief that’s way far fetched than most.

    Existing in select countries, with more than a million followers, there is a movement that believes smoking marijuana is a spiritual act.

    The Rastafarian Movement considers smoking marijuana to be a sacrament that facilitates consciousness and peacefulness, therefore bringing them closer to God.

    So my question is this — is it a justifiable act to smoke because it is a part of a religion/spiritual belief?

    True, this is the country where we value the ideals of individual liberty, individualism, self sufficiency, equality, democracy, even feminism. And it somewhat encourages other diversity groups, religions, faiths and so on.

    So, shouldn’t Rastas have the right to smoke marijuana if it brings them closer to God, makes them feel non-Europeanized and closer to their roots?

    I think they should, if they believe it is intended to bring them closer to their inner spiritual self, gain wisdom, and represent life.

    I need all of that!

    But, according to the drug laws of the United States, the religious rights of smoking marijuana is a direct violation.

    The Rastafarians use Psalms 104:14, along with many other scriptures out of the Bible, to justify the use of marijuana. Psalms says, “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth food out of the earth.”

    In the Rastas’ eyes, the Bible doesn’t prohibit the use of it, so why should the government or any individual for that matter.

    For all those people screaming, “But marijuana is bad,” I know it has its drawbacks, but so does everything else we consume and do.

    Seriously, what harm is upheld by smoking an herb that grows naturally from the ground? People drink man-made liquor and beer all the time and do plenty of harm to their families, become mentally instable, and become addicted.

    There are people everyday killing themselves softly with cigarettes.

    And these drugs are attainable in stores all across America, so why not the sale of marijuana? Fewer people would be in jail, for one.

    According to an article titled “Banning the Weed to Criminalize the People,” each year the government spends $16 billion on the “War on Drugs” to kick in doors, fill jails and build new ones and evict families from public housing.

    Without the criminalization of marijuana, the whole justification for the “war on drugs” goes up in smoke.

    So all this money being spent on preventing the use for drugs could be going toward AIDS research, and marijuana can also treat types of AIDS patients as well.

    This money could be going to starving people, better schools; one thing is for sure, it could definitely be going toward a better cause.

    The war on marijuana is a war on people. It makes me question what kind of society would implement a method of pure repression that is incarcerating people in the masses.

    When I see the government spending money to go out of its way to spy on individuals and form drug teams to seek out and send people to jail, I can’t help but get a little frustrated and question the ethics of these actions.

    Dawn Scales is an opinion columnist for The Daily O’Collegian. She can be reached via e-mail at
  2. Buzzby Buzzby

    • Buddhist Curmudgeon
    • Since: Aug 27, 2004
    • Posts: 40,845
    It's not legal in Amsterdam, it's tolerated, and then in only small amounts.

    Some people believe that about human sacrifice and cannibalism. Should we permit them on religious grounds?

    You can use the Bible to justify almost anything if you look hard enough. The same Old Testament that contains the Psalms demands the execution of adulterers and has a requirement that a man marry his late brother's widow. Appeal to authority is not a valid argument.

    The Bible doesn't prohibit 5-year-olds from flying airliners. It doesn't prohibit (actually demands) the execution of homosexuals. If everything the Bible doesn't prohibit were allowed it would be a very interesting world.

    Like opium? :laugh:

    Why? There are plenty of other prohibited drugs.

    I'm sorry to be playing Devil's Advocate here. I actually agree with the author's sentiments. My problem is with the way they're presented. The reason I've taken the time to poke holes in the author's arguments is because when we argue for legalization we need to do so with arguments that hold up under scrutiny.
  3. uniquexperience uniquexperience

    • New Member
    • Since: Aug 8, 2005
    • Posts: 88
    I agree

    It's a real fine line with religious excuse.
    II think we should legalize it for a lot of reasons.. but because it's in the bible is not one of them. Mostly because I'm an atheist, but I can see where he's coming from. I just feel criminilization of a benign herb that can be and was used to help mankind.
  4. ChronicSmoke7 ChronicSmoke7

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Oct 30, 2004
    • Posts: 1,120
    If an entire religion uses marijuana, wtf all of the myths can be disproven, why aren't the rastas cancer ridden schizophrenias? Rastas prove that mass amounts of people smoking pot causes little personal harm and little to none harm to society
  5. BC.Buddy BC.Buddy

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Jun 16, 2004
    • Posts: 1,314
    You're absolutely right, again though, I would've used a different example. Your's is a violation to another's rights, and that's different than smoking a plant.

    Are there not peyote consuming people, legally allowed because it's their religion? Maybe not.

    True that! Using the bible for any kind of argument in a civilized, modern society is fruitless. Remember, terroism is a perception of religious scripture, obscured to fit their agenda.

    Yeah, and people allow it to guide their ideals and worship this book.

    Well, why don't we explore other legal loopholes involved with religion. Where I am, bike helmet laws do not apply to a person that wears a turban. Also, east indian people of some kind of faith are allowed to carry large swords in public, because it's their religion.

    I don't disagree with these changes. It's just I would rather people were allowed to smoke a plant over carry a big sword. That's just me though.

    That's pretty vague. Hence the reason why the bible argument sucks.

    Yeah, but it seems the bulk of their effort goes towards marijuana. I think they would obviously have to change focus to other, worse drugs (why haven't they already), but the whole premise of their "War on Drugs" would have failed.

    You have perfectly valid points, I agree fully. I thought the article was severely flawed as well.

    That's a really good point. I never thought about that.

  6. Logos Logos

    • CannaSacrament Minister
    • Since: Jun 1, 2001
    • Posts: 2,031
    Sacramental Cannabis

    Some interesting points here.

    I was arguing with Howard Woolridge about this very subject. ( ) He used an interesting argument in that some people claim that molesting children sexually is something that people actually claim a spiritual defense for. I didn't believe him until I was listening to Christian radio in the tractor one day, and they said the very same thing. The argument isn't quite as valid where harm can be shown though. Not much harm in smoking a plant where others are concerned.

    One thing I see lacking in our nation is spiritual understanding of any kind. Science is discovering a lot of different things that lead them to view reality as being of an intelligent design, reinforcing the concept of a creator.

    To assume that humans are the greatest thing that the universe has to offer and that our evolution was a mere accident is quite egotistical. Even Darwin pointed out that while his theories made a great deal of logical sense, in the future some avenues of science might just point to intelligent design.

    Oops, geting off on a rant...

    Evolution is real, and creationism has a lot of scientific backing.

    Not too long ago, the 9th circut court ruled in favor of the rastas use of the cannabis plant as legal sacrament that the first ammendment protected. I'm sort of surprised the author didn't include that. It's here in the archives somewhere I remember posting it.

    THC Ministries of Hawaii, and with chapters across America and around the world are proposing that Cannabis is a sacramental substance. For more info from that angle see

    Roger Christie sells a sanctuary kit designed to protect your religious rights to grow and consume the plant in a sincere manner as a means to avoid prosecution and jail time.

    He claims that every state, and the federal constitution protects the individual in this regard.

    From Roger's site:

    I have also been told by someone who knows Roger personally that he will fly to where you are if you are using this defense as an expert witness at his expense, but I haven't seen that on his site anywhere.

    Worshiping a book is a sin. I agree that most Christians are worshiping a book. Ghandi said it best when he said "I don't hate your Christ, I love your Christ, it's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."

    Is it Christianity that athiests hate, or is it the way that Christians practice Christianity? The Christ told us to love our enemies and pray for them, not to make laws against doing things that they simply don't approve of.

    It is not that which enters a mans mouth which defiles him, but that which comes out. --The Bible

    To be drunk is not a sin, but when drunkenness causes a fall...

    Rev. Logos
    P.S. I'm not trying to preach, that's just simply my speech... --KMK
  7. BC.Buddy BC.Buddy

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Jun 16, 2004
    • Posts: 1,314
    I'd have to risk going off topic to ask you exactly what the hell these different things are. Just because things are incredibly complex, does not mean they have to be of intelligent design. The common fall of faith, believing an answer before the question is understood first.

    I trust in evolution as a concept almost fully. I do not, and most scientists as well, believe that we're the only thing in the universe. It's religion that makes that claim, not science. Why is it harder to believe that we're made from the same organic compounds found in the air your breathing and the food you eat and were made accidentally with just the right conditions, than it is to believe there was some omnipotent creator that snapped 'his' fingers?

    Does that mean the chance of it being intelligent design is greater? I don't believe so.

    Yeah? Creationism in what form?

    Eve from Adam's rib creatinism?

    No? What about maybe some kind of 'God' sparking life into the first of organisms? Then 'who' made the universe?

    Perhaps a 'God' snapped his fingers and the big bang happened.

    Does that mean he's still in control, or is the universe's inner workings happening via all the mathematical reasoning we've come to start understanding and he's merely watching?

    Also, when we look to creationism, which faith do we choose to believe? There are thousands of different views on how the world/universe was created. Which is the right one? Most of them do have some similarities, is this an argument that they could be something of importance? What about the vast conflicting differences in them? Or the abhorrently obvious manner in which you can tell that man wrote the religions, not a hand of god.

    Think about this; in all religions it is man professing to know what this ultra intelligence of a god wants. Saying that from 'signs' he knows the will of this god. Religion is egotistical, not science.

    If there is intelligent design, do you think us extremely imperfect humans have any idea what god's agenda is? Or how he created everything?

    Fat chance. Choose to believe in something that wasn't written thousands of years ago.

    Or Catholicists worshiping the Pope?

    Either way, they choose to get their morals from a book that was written by a different people all together, rather than creating them from good sense.

    Do athiests hate anything about Christianity? Or do they disagree with blind faith? Christians have done nothing wrong to me. And Christianity teaches very good concepts. Does this mean I have to believe that Jesus was the son of god? Do I have to disregard a whole slew of facts because Jesus had a good idea?

    What's the difference between the faiths of a cult and the faiths of a religion?
  8. ChronicSmoke7 ChronicSmoke7

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Oct 30, 2004
    • Posts: 1,120
    What does evolution have to do w/ Rasta's being allowed to legally smoke?
    There is an entire thread about can add to the ranting and raving there but here try to stay on topic.....
  9. BC.Buddy BC.Buddy

    • Sr. Member
    • Since: Jun 16, 2004
    • Posts: 1,314
    You're entirely right. After I posted that, I went over to that thread and have been watching some very interesting posts.

    Sorry for the rant.
  10. Logos Logos

    • CannaSacrament Minister
    • Since: Jun 1, 2001
    • Posts: 2,031
    Heh, sorry for sparking that, I knew better, but for some reason lost my better sense. Point me to this other thread, and I'll join in there.

    The questions you pose I'll answer in PM.

    Again, sorry for making a bit of a wrong turn there. ;)

    Rev. Logos
  11. Higher Logic Higher Logic

    • Web Developar
    • Since: Feb 17, 2003
    • Posts: 12,227
  12. narc emery narc emery

    • New Member
    • Since: Aug 20, 2005
    • Posts: 106
    Interesting sidenote in relation to this post's content (the original content that is): The sometimes latent reason true Rastafarians have dreadlocks, are vegetarians and smoke 'Ganja' (a Hindi word for compressed male buds) in 'Chillums' (another Hindi word for a small clay pipe) lies partly with the British. When the British abolished slavery, they incorporated and shipped hundreds of thousands of Indian laborers to work on sugar plantations throughout the British empire. Along with many other social as well as personal beliefs, these immigrants also brought the religion of cannabis. Cannabis appeared and started growing in many places where the British took Indians, the Caribbean is a prime example of just one place where local people quickly acclimated to the plant and claimed it as their own.
    Hindu, one of the worlds oldest spiritual beliefs, consummates the use of marijuana to facilitate and attain 'enlightenment'. In fact, the followers of Shiva (Shiva is the oldest known godhead figure in the world) sometimes meditate by drinking a milk and cannabis mixture prepared by priests called Bhang. While Sadhus (Hindu Holy Men), and other devotees walk throughout India searching for the spiritual oneness with Shiva (true enlightement). These Sadhus also smoke 'Charas' and 'Ganja' from chillums.

    Many Hindus are unaware of the significance of cannabis to Shiva and the Hindu religion in general. They seem to know that Bhang was Holy and relevant to Shiva, but a majority did not know that Bhang contained cannabis. Cannabis use is stigmatised by Hindu's the world over, but if you ask true priests in India about its position compared to alcohol, they will tell you that cannabis and only cannabis is acceptable to a Hindu, and priests are only allowed Bhang and ganja, but not allowed alcohol!!!

    Interestingly, Rastas call the best female weed 'Kali', this is a Hindi term for 'Kali Mata' a dark form of Shiva's wife Parvati - in addition, Kali also means "Bud" in Hindi. Another corralation between the two religions is the ubiquitous emulation of Shiva and Rasta's dreadlocks by their followers. Most of the ancient Rishi's that are mentioned in the Hindu scriptures, had grown their 'Jata' (knotted hair) when they renounced normal living and became Spiritual Sadhus.

    After understanding the role and capacity in which cannabis has traditionally played in the Hindu belief structure, I wonder if their follower's could, or even would use these evident principles as argument and secure limited cannabis use for religious rights? Unlike the Rastafarian's, I have not observed an elevated amount of opposition to cannabis prohibition from the Hindu community/church.
    Obviously, the Rastafarian religion is based on Hindu principles, with the same basic belief that cannabis is a spiritual conduit given to them as a "Gift from God". Why then, do the Rastas proclaim that 'Kali' is an essential right of their religious existence, while the Hindu culture remains silent about it's use? Or Perhaps, as all migratory religions do, they too have adopted (succumbed?) to the inevitable social and political changes that have historically accompanied any 'hybridization' of foriegn religious ideas with local customs, laws and beliefs?

    Or maybe Rastas just like to get stoned...... :bong2:
  13. uniquexperience uniquexperience

    • New Member
    • Since: Aug 8, 2005
    • Posts: 88
    Well.. the official situation is like this.

    There are laws against Cannabis in India, but they are rarely if ever enforced and Ganja is openly available and consumed. Though it is not popular and is used mostly during celebration in the form of bhang. Since most people do not smoke it, but only the priests do .. when they came over here, they simply adopted another limit on their use list. After all, it's not like bhang was available here anyway. That's why no protests. They simply didn't realize it.
  14. narc emery narc emery

    • New Member
    • Since: Aug 20, 2005
    • Posts: 106
    Thank you for the response...but why then is the Rastasfarian movement (which is loosely based on Hindu principles), the only one to proclaim a divine right to use Cannabis in religious ceremony?

    With both "religions" observing some of the same fundamental beliefs (the ingestion of Cannabis as a sacrament),would it not seem a prudent time for devout Hindu's to join the resurrection of such an important belief/practice, or at least capatilize on the "movement"?

    One obvious conclusion is: Because the Rastafarian presence in North America is much smaller than that of the Hindu's, and the Rasta's lacking the equal collective presence, would not have experienced the same beuracratic processes (yes, I'm aware of the supposed separation of Church and State in the USA) that would have shaped, and outlined legal boundaries for practicing religion in this country.

    Rastas would have experienced much less social, and legal expectations; unlike that of a larger organization such as the loften conspicuios and prominent Hindu faith. This oversightmight have opened the door, and helped lay the foundation for a Rastafarian eschewal to acquiesce their religious and ceremonial entitlements.
  15. uniquexperience uniquexperience

    • New Member
    • Since: Aug 8, 2005
    • Posts: 88
    It's quite simple really.

    Rastafarians smoke the weed enmasse.
    Only the hindu Priests partake of the herb with any sort of common occurence.
    Since they have come to the U.S they have even stopped doing that. There's no bhang. Basically. They just cut that part out.. They still do it in India, but over here they follow American Laws.

    Rastafarians are much more free in their system of people. They do not have a caste background and they favor more individuality. The use of Cannabis as a sacrament is also practiced by all members of the religion so cannabis is much more entwined into their religion.
  16. narc emery narc emery

    • New Member
    • Since: Aug 20, 2005
    • Posts: 106
    ...makes sense, thanks for the insight... It's interesting when migrating cultures interact, local customs and traditions are adopted, and eventually religions and personal beliefs are merged and diluted; only to be reconstituted as a hybrid of both.

    I suppose the peripheral ideologies, and superficial content throughout this "socio-geo-morphosis" revolve/devolve on a cursory level, but the foundation remains unchanged.
  17. Mike Graves Mike Graves

    • New Member
    • Since: Mar 2, 2012
    • Posts: 1
    There has never been, nor is there now one single legitimate reason to regulate or restrict the cultivation and utilization of this holy herb/ most benificial plant. The prohibition of cannabis hemp is a crime against all living creatures and the planet itself. The author states that there are drawbacks from cannabis use, what, besides going to prison for using a plant? JAH Rastifari!
    Insaneteacher likes this.
  18. joshmolina2 joshmolina2

    • New Member
    • Since: Oct 31, 2012
    • Posts: 1
    Interesting topic. I think there is a good case to be made but the arguments need to be laid out much clearer. There is an inherent problem with a government telling people that they can or cannot worship or experience god in a particular way, especially when it is of no harm to anyone else. Anyone interested in the subject should study the legal battles over ayuahasca. Ayahuasca is an incredibly potent tea which contains the psychadelic substance, DMT. Indiginous people of brazil brought it over with them, and went to court to fight for their right to take the brew. It is a religious sacrament given to men women and children for spiritual cleansing. They actually won the case and members of their church can drink the tea although i hear there have been some recent complications with that decision. The church is called União do Vegetal, or UDV, you should look into it.

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