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Rastafarian community files an appeal for marijuana legalization in Kenya

The Rastafarian community in Kenya has filed an appeal at the Milimani Law Courts trying to obtain the legalization of marijuana.

The community, through an appeal, declare that its believers use bhang through smoking, drinking, eating or bathing. They also exhibit their faith by burning incense for various reasons such as spiritual, medicinal and ceremonial. 

The section claims that they are a marginalized group. Rastafarians are therefore powerless in terms of politics and are exposed to bias, harassment and unjustified scrutiny of their persons and their homes.

 “It is the Petitioner’s contention that the impugned section clearly show differential treatment on the basis of Religion and privacy perpetuates the culture, stigma and discrimination against the 1st petitioners’ followers through the continued use of archaic laws that violate the rights of the 1st petitioners’ members,” the court documents read.

The Petitioner’s through lawyer Shadrack Wambui and others, uphold that 10 years after the Constitution of Kenya was passed, the disputed section carries on with the existence in law without any violations on the rights of persons who profess Rastafari beliefs.

They argue that the impugned provisions of the Narcotic make no sense to the Rastafari right to associate with others through spiritual purposes as in the Constitution.

 “This, therefore, makes it criminal for rastas to assemble in prayer and partake the herb as a sacrament.” 

They also desire the court to deflect the apprehension of believers who use bhang for their spiritual and personal development.

They currently seek the court to subject a statement that Section 3 (1), (2), (a) and (3) (a-d) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act No. 4 Of 1994 is unconstitutional as it discriminates the Rastafarian community. 

By Everlyne Bosibori

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