Report: NH Rastafarian Cleared Of Drug Charges, Freedom Of Religion Cited

BARNSTEAD, NH (CBS) – A New Hampshire state superior court jury has cleared a man of felony drug charges, deciding that his drug use was part of his religion, according to the Union Leader.

Doug Darnell, 59, a Rastafarian, was arrested in 2009 after police seized 15 marijuana from his property in Barnstead, New Hampshire.

Rastafarianism promotes the spiritual use of marijuana.

According to the report, the jury agreed that prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Darnell was growing marijuana.  He could have faced up to seven years in prison. However, the judge allowed the group to nullify their verdict on grounds of freedom of religion.

Darnell reportedly had no previous criminal record.

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