Legalize Ganja Campaign
Kingston, Jamaica
Thursday May 15, 1997
The Observer, Kingston, Jamaica. May 15, 1997

by Patricia roxborough [observer staff reporter]

The Supreme Court will tomorrow say if it will sanction the use of marijuana by Dr. Dennis Forsythe and by extension the rest of the Rastafarian community, for sacramental purposes.
     Forsythe, a 50-year old sociologist and lawyer, has since Monday, been trying to convince Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe and Justice Lloyd Ellis and Neville Clarke to sanction his use of ganja and ownership of a chillum pipe, on the grounds that they are essential elements of his religion, Rastafarianism.
     If the court grants his request for a declaration that Rastafarians are to be allowed to smoke the substance, which since 1924 been outlawed under the Dangerous Drugs Act, it will be an important milestone for the religious sect which has been lobbying for its legalization.
     Forsythe filed the request in the form of a motion for constitutional redress last year, shortly after he was arrested for the possession of the substance and a chillum pipe.
     He also filed several affidavits signed by members of the religion, promoting the use of the drug.  "I have been using ganja for over 40 years now and never had any illness," boasted 65 year-old Ras Sydney DaSilva, chairman of the Rastafarian Centralization Organization.
     DaSilva's affidavit went on to promote ganja as an element that induced wisdom, love and commitment to high principles.  Forsythe, who is representing himself in the matter, contends that if he were to be convicted for the possession of the substance which the police found at his Stony Hill home last year on December 14, his right to freely practice his religion under section 21 of the constitution would be breached.
     Section 21 of the constitution says no one should be hindered from enjoying their religion as dictated by their conscience as long as the public's safety, rights and freedoms are not infringed.  The section also says that no law that protects the public safety, morality and health shall be deemed unconstitutional.
     Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Paula Lewellyn, and Lennox Campbell along with Avlana Johnson from the Attorney General's department opposed Forsythe on the ground that the purpose of the dangerous Drugs Act was to outlaw ganja for the public's protection.
     Forsythe's response to that argument was that the effect of the Act had to be distinguished from the purpose of the Act.
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