Legalize Ganja Campaign
Kingston, Jamaica
Thursday May 15, 1997
The Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica.  May 15/97.

Ganja rights ruling tomorrow

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW Dr. Dennis Forsythe is fighting to get a declaration from the Constitutional Court that the use of ganja and the chillum pipe are essential to his Rastafarian faith.  The 50-year-old lawyer was arrested and charged on December 14, 1996, with possession of just under half kilogram of ganja and a chillum pipe, following a search of his home by the police.
     The self-professed Rastafarian, who does not wear the traditional dreadlocks hairstyle, argued that he should not be made a criminal because of his religion.
     The case, which began on Monday, has attracted the attention of several Rastafarian brethren, who are anxiously awaiting its outcome.
     The Constitutional Court, comprising Chief Justice the Hon. Lensley Wolfe, Mr. Justice Ellis and Mr. Justice Clarke, reserved judgement yesterday and will hand down its decision on Friday.  The criminal case against Dr. Forsythe has been put off in the Half-Way-Tree Court, pending the outcome of the motion.
     Dr. Forsythe is appearing in person and the court posed several interesting questions during his argument.  On being asked by the court what about a religion which stated that one had to offer human sacrifice, Dr. Forsythe said he would not be a party to such a religion.
     The Director of Public Prosecutions [DPP] and the Attorney General are the respondents.
     The application is brought under section 21 and 25 of the Constitution and Dr. Forsythe is asking the court for a declaration that section 21 of the Constitution has been contravened in relation to him, in that his arrest and pending trial or conviction on charges of possession of ganja and chillum pipe [two essentials of his Rastafarian faith] under the Dangerous Drugs Act [section 7b, 7c and 7d] are in conflict with section 21 of the constitution and with his fundamental right to conscience and freedom of religion, and to the extent of this inconsistency, those sections of the Dangerous Drugs Act are void.
     During his arguments Forsythe, who had taken an active part in the campaign to legalize ganja last year, told the court that as a part of their religion, they should be allowed to possess ganja weighing anything below eight ounces.  He said that the legalization of ganja was a battle yet to be won.  He pointed out that when Haile Selassie visited Jamaica some years ago, Rastafarians smoked ganja under the eyes of the police and were not arrested.
Dr. Forsythe needs help - MONEY. He has been defending himself has put his income earning aside since late last year.  His battle is for us all.

If you would like to assist this worthy cause, please send your donation to the "Legalize Ganja Campaign" and note that it is for the Dennis Forsythe Legal Fund.

Cheques can be mailed to our PO Box as follows:

Legalize Ganja Campaign
P O Box 357
Kingston 10
Jamaica, West Indies.

or, money can be wired as follows:

Legalize Ganja Campaign
Account #3020-38-544
National Commercial Bank
Half Way Tree
Kingston 10
Jamaica, West Indies


MISSION: To campaign by all legitimate and democratic methods to bring about reforms in the laws of Jamaica relating to ganja, and in particular to secure that no person should be punished under law for simple possession, use or cultivation of ganja.

DIRECTORS: Sandra Alcott . Paul Chang . Sydney daSilva . Dr. Dennis Forsythe . Lord Anthony Gifford . Barbara Blake-Hanna . Antonnette Haughton-Cardenas . Dr. Ronnie Lampart . Junior Manning

TEL: [809] 924-1787  FAX: [809] 924-2500  E-MAIL:
MAIL: POB 357 . Kingston 10 . Jamaica . West Indies