NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Rastafarian community is anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on the constitutionality of laws prohibiting their possession and use of marijuana.
Lorenzo Stubbs was arrested in December 2021 after police found 1.6 ounces of marijuana at his home.
His trial is on hold pending his Supreme Court constitutional challenge of Section 29 (6) of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
A hearing for the matter took place before Justice Loren Klein several months ago.
Members of the Rastafarian community are growing impatient waiting for the judge’s ruling.
Priest Delrado Burrows, Secretary of the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress True Divine Church of Salvation, said yesterday that as they wait for the judgement, members of his community are still being harmed.
“We just want to stress our concern as a community because even though the matter is pending before the Supreme Court, while the matter is pending our rights are still being infringed upon,” he said.
“We still have members of our community that are being arrested, still being charged, still being brought before the courts for expressing their basic human rights for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, for freedom of belief.
“We’re just trying to draw attention to the situation. It’s not on us to press or push the justice to make a decision but his decision could alleviate a lot of the burdens and a lot of the situations and trials that we currently face as a community and it could break a lot of barriers for us as well.”
Attorney General Ryan Pinder reiterated this week that the Davis administration will bring legislation to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
That, however, is of no comfort to many members of the Rastafarian community.
“It’s all fine and well to tell us to wait, right, but at the same time we are waiting, our human rights are still being infringed upon,” Burrows said.
“I myself could step out on the street right now and be harassed, like right at this very moment and it is uncalled for. And the thing about it is, we’ve been waiting for years. Everybody just telling us to wait. Meanwhile, we have fathers being stripped away from their families and homes being destroyed.”
Jevon Thompson, chairman of the EABIC, said if the government is serious about its plans, it would ease the enforcement of existing marijuana laws.
“We would like the freedom to try to uplift ourselves and our surrounding community,” he said.
“By them using their discretion until the government finally decides what course of action they will take, that could help our community greatly and it would show that they finding favor with us or they trying to work with our community. But it’s a situation where you don’t know who to believe, it’s just rhetoric at the moment.”