Rastafarians not high on new ‘ganja’ bill

Sizwe Sibiya

There was a haze of smoke over Durban Central on Thursday as Rastafarians protested against the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill which officially took effect in 2020.

Khehla Buthelezi, a 37-year-old Rasta from Ntuzuma township in Durban, told Scrolla.Africa they are not at all happy about the new cannabis laws.

“The law now restricts us to very few plants. Before the bill was passed we used to plant more than ten marijuana plants. The police would only confiscate and burn them – without arresting us.

“Now with the new law if you are found with four plants you could get a sentence of up to 12 years,” said Khehla.

The new bill allows companies with certificates to harvest marijuana for medicinal use in the country.

Conference Mgenge from Endumeni in Eshowe said they are against the new Bill as it now adds to “all our struggles including discrimination against our religion and beliefs.

“I have been arrested multiple times for having marijuana plants and every time my dreadlocks were cut off in jail.

“Rastafarians don’t get employment in government. And our children are taught to not live the Rastafarian way we taught them. All that needs to be addressed,” said Conference, a respected leader of the Rastas.

Sister Don, whose real name is Noma Mthembu, said it is not true that cannabis smokers are hoodlums “as most people think”.

She said: “We have doctors, lawyers and teachers among us. In fact there are Rastafarians in every profession in South Africa,” said Sister Don who is from Chesterville, Durban.