What constitutes a Rasta? How can you differentiate between a real Rasta and a fake Rasta? Does a Rasta need to have dreadlocks? Can someone just say they are a Rasta and that means they are Rasta? This is the problem that Jamaica’s marijuana decriminalization laws are now creating on the island.
Under the 2015 amendments to the Dangerous Drug Act, adherents to the Rastafarian faith are permitted to smoke marijuana for sacramental purposes in locations registered as places of Rastafarian worship.
In addition persons 18 years or older, who are adherents to the Rastafarian faith, or Rastafarian organizations, may apply for authorization to cultivate ganja for religious purposes as a sacrament in adherence to the Rastafarian faith.
As a result of this amendment many people who are baldheaded are claiming the Rasta faith in order to get authorization to cultivate marijuana. On top of that baldheaded people are now frequenting Rasta places of worship in order to be able to smoke week in peace without being harassed by the police.
This has now put the Jamaican police in a hard place when it comes to enforcing the marijuana laws. How can they prove if a person is gaming the system in order to farm marijuana as a religious sacrament?
There was a time on the island when a Rasta’s hair was his or her identity. That was before Morgan Heritage sung “You don’t haffi dread to be Rasta” in one of their hit songs. The simple line has created much conversation not only in the Rasta community but also in the general population. Most people agree with the Reggae group that Rasta is not a dreadlocks thing.
The Jamaican government has not done many things right when it comes to allowing its citizens to benefit from marijuana; however, they have tried to do the right thing by the Rasta community.
The problem the Jamaican government now faces is how to identify a Rasta when executing its marijuana laws. There was a time when you could identify a Rasta by his hair; however, today those days are gone as “you don’t haffi dread to be Rasta.”