Kenya group seeks rights to ‘spiritual’ cannabis use

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Kenya

A Kenyan group has gone to court seeking to be allowed to consume cannabis for “spiritual” purposes.

The Rastafari Society of Kenya, which identifies itself as a minority religious group, said its members live in fear because of laws that are hostile to their religious practices.

Rastafarians were often subjected to prejudice, intimidation, and unwarranted searches in their homes and designated places of worship, the group added.

Lawyers Shadrack Wambui and Alexander Mwendwa argued that cannabis was a “sacrament” connecting believers to their “creator”.

They blamed the authorities for not ensuring that the group’s religious rights were respected.

In 2019, a high court in Kenya ruled that the Rastafarian movement was a religious group just like any other and should be treated as the rest.

The decision followed a case where a man had sued a school for sending away his daughter for having dreadlocks.

The father said his daughter had dreadlocks because the family subscribed to the Rastafarian faith.—AFP