Rastafarian Meeting Bans Marijuana

Rastafarian convention offers a solution to a "rather discourteous and rather embarrassing situation"

 

ROSEAU, Dominica, Aug. 14 (AP) - There'll be no marijuana smoked at a meeting of Rastafarians, organizers promised Monday, following complaints about participants lighting up in front of Dominica's top law enforcement official.

The announcement came after local television on Friday showed people at the eight-day meeting's opening ceremony smoking marijuana during an address by acting Attorney General Bernard Wiltshire. Three police officers were also present but took no action to stop the smokers.

Rastafarians consider smoking marijuana a sacrament.

Wiltshire later lodged a protest with organizers after several viewers complained. He met with organizers Monday over what he called ``this rather discourteous and rather embarrassing situation. I would not have expected anybody who asks the chief law officer of the country to address them to then proceed to break the law right in front of his face.''

One of the meeting's organizers, Rastafarian and attorney Ian Alleyne, said, ``It was unfortunate that this incident happened and we have given assurances to the acting attorney general that no such activities will take place for the rest of the conference.'' The meeting began Thursday and aims to form a Caribbean Rastafarian Organization dedicated to getting reparation for slavery and the repatriation of slave descendants to Africa.

Rastafarians are members of a religious sect mostly in the Caribbean who believe in the divinity of former Ethiopian leader Haile Selassie.

Marijuana is illegal in Dominica as in other Caribbean countries, though officials largely turn a blind eye to offenders who use small amounts privately.

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