A string of Cabinet ministers are said to be ‘breaking the law’ in smoking cannabis, according to what international consultant of Ancient Council of Nyahbinghi Rastafari and elder of the national council of the Rastafarians in the country, Ras Ray Harawa told Times Television.
Harawa, who is also manager of the reggae outfit The Black Missionaries, said in an interview with Times TV ‘Tikudziweni‘ program host Brian Banda that he knows Cabinet Ministers, top government officials and lawyers who smoke Marijuana popularly known as Chamba.
“Are you not surprised that when the issue of Chamba trials was presented in parliament it passed without any difficulties?” said Harawa in the interview monitored by Nyasa Times.
Harawa said there are many people he knows in the security organs who use the drug.
When asked by Banda if he had ever smoked cannabis, Harawa said he had, “occasionally in my youth” but never since.
“I am a Rasta but Rastafarianism is not about smoking weed. There are so many people who call themselves Rasta but they don’t smoke weed, including myself,” said Harawa.
“I have been a Rasta for more than 30 years but I don’t smoke hemp. I used to smoke in the past but I stopped,” he said in the interview.
Harawa backed calls for a regulated cannabis market in the country as many believe Malawian hemp could be worth billions of dollars in a rapidly expanding global market for legal weed.
“I support the practice of smoking Indian hemp for recreation,” he said.
Harawa, married to a British doctor, said Chamba smoking is helping government to reduce numbers of people committing suicide as some people find solace in weed.
Malawi is well known for the prevalence and quality of marijuana production within its borders, including the sought after “Malawi Gold” strain.
There is growing interest in cashing in on a valuable crop. But in each case there are unique challenges to face as critics of legalizing hemp have suggested that marijuana could be next, a longstanding demand of the country’s Rastafarian minority, which claims that smoking ‘chamba’ is integral to their culture.
Marijuana is illegal in Malawi and police are sparing no one, Rasta or non-Rasta, in their crackdown on suspects.
But the Rastafarian community held peaceful demonstration to ask the government to consider legalising the growing and use of the illicit drug, which is being illegally grown across the country.
One Rasta quoted from the bible, citing Genesis 1 verses 11 and 12, as authorising people to smoke the “herb”, which he also claimed had medicinal properties.
“So, yeah man, Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth.’” (Genesis 1:29, NIV)
He said while the Holy Bible does speak of alcohol, it never mentions marijuana, which means the issue requires a great deal of consideration before arriving at a thoughtful Christian position.
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