For a long period of time, many people have associated Rastafarianism with smoking and mental instability.
The prejudice surrounding these group of people has been passed on from generations to generations, especially in Africa and by extension, Ghana.
It is not uncommon to hear a parent sternly cautioning the ward to refrain from associations with persons with locks and or Indian hemp.
This is especially so during junior high school or when the ward is ready to go to the senior high school.
Many have also cautioned against the use of the substance because of the general perception that it causes one to lose their sanity.
In fact, Ghana’s Parliamentary First Deputy Speaker who doubles as legislator for Bekwai posited that Rastafarianism is associated with smoking.
But reacting to the general perception held by many people on #SayItLoud, a member of the Rastafarian community in Ghana, BlackEye indicated that statistics from psychiatric hospitals; Pantang for example, reveal that the major cause of mental issues in the country is relationship problems.
“It is not true that cannabis is related to mental issues… because if you look and you read the facts and papers from the psychiatric wards… this is from Pantang, their own assessment, they tell you one thing, the biggest thing that creates mental problems in Ghana amongst our people is relationship problems.
“That is the statistics. People have to talk with facts because statistically, it is wrong to say that cannabis leads people to psychiatric wards. No, in Ghana’s case, it has been documented that most of our mental problem cases are actually from relationship issues…” Ras BlackEye told GhanaWeb’s George Ayisi.
Recently some students who have dreadlocks were denied admission by one of Ghana’s elite senior high schools, Achimota.
The development rekindled the debate on whether Ghanaian children should be allowed to grow their hairs while in school and some prejudices attributed to persons with dreadlocks.