Legalize Ganja Campaign
Kingston, Jamaica
Saturday May 17, 1997
The Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica.  May 17/97.

Ganja challenge turned down

By Barbara Gayle
Staff Reporter

FOR THE small group of Rastafarians who gathered at the Supreme Court on King Street yesterday the news was not good.  The Constitutional Court ruled it was illegal to smoke ganja.
     Disappointed but undaunted the Rastafarians say they will continue to press their case with the nation's Parliament, as they seek to have the weed legalised for religious purposes.
     The case for using ganja as a sacrament was taken to the Constitutional Court by Dr. Dennis Forsythe, 50, a clean-shaven Rastafarian and attorney-at-law, who is fighting a charge of possession of ganja and chillum pipe in a Resident Magistrate's court.  He contended that the usage of ganja and the chillum pipe were essential to his Rastafarian faith.
     The criminal case, which is set for trial in the Half-Way Tree court on May 26, was awaiting the outcome of the case in the Constitutional Court.
     The police searched Forsythe's home on December 14, 1996, and said they found a chillum pipe and less than half a kilogram of ganja.


     Dr. Forsythe, who is appealing the ruling, said he was disappointed that the court was not persuaded by the overwhelming evidence and authorities which he presented.
     A lecturer in Sociology at Howard University from 1973 to 1977, Dr. Forsythe said he has written a best seller entitled 'Rastafarian for the healing of the nation'.
     The Constitutional Court, comprising Chief Justice the Hon. Lensley Wolfe, Mr. Justice Ellis and Mr. Justice Clarke, dismissed the motion yesterday and said reasons will be given in writing later.  The court made no order as to costs in the motion, which named the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Attorney General as respondents.
      Dr. Forsythe, who appeared in person, had asked the court for a declaration that section 21 of the Constitution has been contravened in relation to him in that the arrest and pending trial or conviction of him on charges of possession of ganja and a chillum pipe (two essentials of his Rastafarian faith) under the Dangerous Drugs Act (sections 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.
     Paula Llewellyn, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, and Lennox Campbell, Senior Assistant Attorney General, had argued that the Dangerous Drugs Law was passed to keep certain dangerous drugs out of the public's way.  They argued that the law was not in conflict with any of the fundamental rights provision of the Constitution.
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