Rastafarian convicted for ganja related offences fined $20,000.00
A Rastafarian, who claims he is being repeatedly persecuted by police for having ganja, was fined yet again, when the matter was called up in court, on Thursday.
Charles Largie, otherwise known as Ras Negus, paid the $20,000.00 fine and was released.
Mr. Largie had been arrested and charged for possession of, and dealing in ganja, after about 2 pounds of the weed was reportedly found inside his sacramental space in Montego Bay, St. James.
Under the dangerous drugs (amendment) act 2015, adherents to the Rastafarian faith are permitted to smoke ganja for sacramental purposes in locations registered as places of Rastafarian worship.
The Rastafari and Grassroots Ganja Association, a committee of the Rastafari Mansions and Organizations, of which Largie is a member, indicated that he has the requisite permits and licences to distribute and transport ganja.
The groups said that on numerous previous occasions, when Largie was charged, he just paid the fine, but this time around, the rastas, as a collective, opted to challenge the matter in court.
They also staged numerous protests over the years leading up to the sentencing, chastising the police, calling on the authorities to respect the rastaman’s sacramental religious rights under the changed dangerous drugs law, and raising public awareness about what they deem to be unfair treatment.
Speaking with Irie FM News, Largie pointed out that he does not have a permit from the Cannabis Licensing Authority.
He claimed to have documents from the Justice Ministry, which outline an exemption for distribution and transportation of ganja.
He said the Rastafarians will continue to fight for their sacramental religious rights for ganja, to be respected.