Six scriptural passages that support cannabis use

Six scriptural passages that support cannabis use
City Pages cover by Glass Endeavors and Emily Utne

Our cover story this week looks at Jamison and Jordan Arend, a pair of father and son Rastafarians fighting for -- and winning -- religious freedoms in the Minnesota courts. The story explains how Jamison converted to Rasta after a period of intense scriptural study, and now, sees references to cannabis laced throughout several sacred texts.

For Jamison, the traditional "cannabis is sacred" citations -- the passages in Genesis that describe "every herb of the field" -- don't cut it. "Genesis and every God-bearing fruit, that's so tired and worn out," Jamison says.

Instead, here are six of Jamison's deep cuts from ancient texts Biblical and beyond. Jamison himself admits that his readings aren't for everyone: "Listening to me interpret scripture is probably a little shocking to most people." Consider yourself forewarned.

6. Making herb dust-colored. Koran, Surat Al-Ala:

Glorify the name of your Lord, the Most High,
who creates, then makes complete,
And Who makes (things) according to a measure, then guides (them to their goal),
And Who brings forth herbage,
Then makes it dried up, dust-colored.
We will make you recite so you shall not forget,
Except what Allah pleases, surely He knows the manifest, and what is hidden
And We will make your way smooth to a state of ease.

Jamison's take:

In the sura "The Most High," it talks about this herb and making it dust-colored. Well, I definitely take it from there [a container], put it in here [his pipe], and I make it dust-colored. And then it brings a state of ease. It's the whole thing.

5. Burnt offerings. Isaiah 61:8 and 61:11:

For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them... For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Jamison's take:

I've been trying to use this one in court for awhile. When it says I hate robbery for burnt offering, well, that's what the court is trying to do to us. And directing us to truth, like I said, the truth is on our side. When it says the bud will come forth from the garden and cause righteousness, I don't see any of the righteousness in the churches or other buildings. Righteousness will come from the fertile fields of herb.

4. Golden vials of incense. Revelations 5:8:

And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song,

Jamison's take:

The golden bowls full of incense, you can figure that part out. As for the stringed instruments, that lays out exactly what reggae music is: the new song. Reggae music is what the new song says.

See Also: Holy smoke: Rastafarians toke for a higher power

3. Praise God with your pipe. Isaiah 30:29:

Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and a gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.

Jamison's take:

It's funny, they've been trying to hide it so bad over the years, now "pipe" is sometimes translated as "flute." But the songs, that's all our music, and the gladness of heart, well that's what happens when you listen to reggae music and smoke herb, I think that's pretty self-explanatory. And notice it says "one" goes. This thing always happens to one person first.

2. Forbidden fruit. Enoch* 24

Fragrant trees encircled the throne. And amongst them was a tree such as I had never yet smelt, neither was any amongst them nor were others like it: it had a fragrance beyond all fragrance, and its leaves and blooms and wood wither not for ever: and its fruit is beautiful, and its fruit n resembles the dates of a palm. Then I said: 'How beautiful is this tree, and fragrant, and its leaves are fair, and its blooms very delightful in appearance.' And [the angel Michael] said unto me: 'Enoch, why dost thou ask me regarding the fragrance of the tree, and why dost thou wish to learn the truth?' Then I answered him saying: 'I wish to know about everything, but especially about this tree.'

* Enoch is an extra-Biblical text, estimated to date from about 300 B.C., and still canonical in two East African churches.

Jamison's take:

The Book of Enoch, it was removed, but for like three chapters in a row it starts talking about this tree that's unlike any other thing, and it starts describing this plant, and it's exactly describing herb. That it has a smell like no other, that the fruits are like dates, and everything about it. And why does he especially want to know about this tree? Why is this tree more important than knowing anything else? Because without the tree, you don't have all of the other things.

1. The holy anointing oil. Exodus 30:23:

Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet connamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.

Isaiah 10:27:

And your yoke shall be removed because of the anointing oil.

Jamison's take:

Fragrant cane or sweet calamus are vague terms now, but if you ask Hebrew scholars, in the Hebrew, it's a fact: the word is Kaneh-bosem, Kaneh-bos. There's eight pounds of cannabis in this oil. It's not like it's a little tiny bit, it's like the vast majority of the recipe. It was a mass volume of oil poured over them, not like, here, have a little rub on your shoulder.

It's what we would like to produce legally some day, and heal people, but we can't do that because we can't possess eight pounds of cannabis, are you kidding me.

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