Man Cleared of Pot Charges Because of his Rastafarian Religion
A Barnstead resident, 59 year old Doug Darrell, was arrested and tried after National Guard helicopters spotted 15 marijuana plants growing on his property. Last week his jury nullified his guilty verdict, which apparently is something they can do when someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt but still the jury wants to see the charges thrown out. Their reasoning? He was using the marijuana for religious purposes, as he is a Rastafarian. Rastafarians, based out of Jamaica, use marijuana as a spiritual aid. Doug Darrell claims that he and his wife used the plants to make tea and medicinal rubs.
I personally don't see anything wrong with marijuana use and think it's a distraction in the war on drugs from real, dangerous narcotics that should be off the streets. But I can see some people being offended that someone got away with something most of us would serve time for, based solely on their religion. Then again, the Catholic Church has been getting away with covering up their sex scandals for years.
What do you think? Should marijuana be legalized? Should a person be exempt from a law that infringes on their religious beliefs?