The Legalise Cannabis Alliance (LCA) is complaining about a ruling in the Italian courts that will single out Rastafarians and allow them to use cannabis without fearing prosecution.
A spokesperson for the LCA said: “The Ruling singles out one group of people in Italy that claims religious beliefs and practices involving the use of cannabis - which prejudices against others - and is contrary to Human Rights.
“YET Human Rights law itself in the UK prohibits the interference with the beliefs and practices of individuals or groups unless it can be shown that they are in some way threatening public health, public order, national security or morals, or the Rights of others.
”Human Rights law acknowledges the Right of people as individuals to choose, to hold and to change, their religion or belief, and to practice those beliefs alone or with others - it says nothing about the need for a belief to be accepted by any authority such as Government or Courts, and is quite specific about when and only when authorities can interfere with that Right: if it can be shown that they are in some way threatening public health, public order, national security or morals, or the Rights of others.
”Therefore it is essential that our Government stop the police from invading people's private lives and preventing them from practicing their beliefs and in this case we refer to the consumption of cannabis so long as it does no harm to others."
Winston Matthews of Surrey, a spokesman for the LCA, said: "This has been ground breaking in that cannabis is now been recognised as a sacrament. Members of The Coptic church also use cannabis in this way., as do Sadhu's in India, and members of other Churches. People use cannabis all over the world for this reason.
“It could also be used recreationally and medicinally as its a very useful plant. I look on this as a small, but strong step towards understanding the many facets of this remarkably safe plant, towards world legalisation of cannabis.”
"The Italian Government must be made to see that this ruling needs to be extended to all people who use cannabis as a beneficial and essential aspect of their belief, whatever that may be.
”And the UK Government needs to follow this up by stopping the needless prosecution of people who believe that their use of cannabis is essential or important to them"
”Right now is the time for our UK government to allow the use of cannabis in UK in this way and any other ways that people see fit! “
Notes For Editor
“Rastas can use cannabis, Italian court rules”: The Independent, July 12 2008
Winston Matthews LCA.(Legalise Cannabis Alliance UK
The Legalise Cannabis Alliance
PO Box 2883 Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 9EE UK