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Rastafari Use


The Rastafari movement was founded in the 1930s and followers of the movement use cannabis as a part of their worshipping of God often called Jah, and for meditation. It is not clear when cannabis was declared as sacred, but it is clear that by the late 1940s Rastafari and cannabis smoking were inextricably connected at the Pinnacle Community of Leonard Howell. Rastafari see cannabis as a sacramental and deeply beneficial plant and that it is the Tree of Life as written about in the Bible. The use of cannabis, and particularly of large pipes called chalices, is an integral part of what Rastafari call “reasoning sessions” where members join together to discuss life according to the Rasta perspective and that using cannabis induces wisdom and understanding. They believe that cannabis produces a clarity of vision, and allows you to see the truth of how things are much more clearly. Thus the Rastafari come together to smoke cannabis in order to assist in reasoning, meditating, praying and communing with each other. They see cannabis as part of their religious observances, as a smoother of mental imbalance and as a mediatory influence and in these ways Rastafari believe that cannabis brings the user closer to Jah and Haile Selassie I. Pipes of cannabis are always dedicated to His Imperial Majesty before being smoked. While it is not essential to use cannabis to be a Rastafari, some feel that they must use it regularly as a part of their faith. “The herb


is the key to new understanding of the self, the universe, and God. It is the vehicle to cosmic consciousness” according to Rastafari philosophy, and is considered to burn the corruption out of the human heart.

Muslim Use

Generally in orthodox Islam, the use of cannabis is forbidden and is regarded as khamr (fermented grape but also anything that intoxicates), and is therefore haraam (forbidden). Some people point to various hadith, which equate all intoxicants with khamr, and proclaim them all haraam, “if much intoxicates, then even a little is haraam”.

Muslim fishermen and sailors were known to use hashish to control their seasickness. There is also numerous mention of hashish use in the One Thousand and One Nights. This book was translated into English in the 19th Century by Richard Burton. Some relevant excerpts are included in the Victorian Hash Eaters section of this book.

Although cannabis use in Islamic society has been consistently present, often but not exclusively in the lower orders, its use specifically for spiritual purposes is most well known among the Sufi. An account of this follows: According to a Sufi tale, Sheik Haydar

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All footage taken was filmed on location at the University of London, who possess a Home Office licence to cultivate Cannabis.
All Cannabis grown was grown under this Home Office licence for medical research under a group European initiative to validate the medicinal properties of Cannabis.