Religion team reporter Luis Henao and video journalist Jessie Wardarski gained unprecedented access to key sources in stories on underreported and often marginalized groups in the small Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. They focused on the Rastafari, many of whom have been jailed and endured racial and religious profiling by law enforcement because of their ritualistic use of marijuana.
Henao and Wardarski scored an exclusive interview with the country’s prime minister; he told the AP why his government recently has granted Rastafari authorization to grow and smoke their sacramental herb. Experts and stakeholders told them that the law in the tiny nation could give a boost to decriminalizing efforts worldwide at a time when public opinion and policy are shifting in favor of legal marijuana use.
Henao and Wardarski spoke to local Rastafari about the impact of the court decision and were granted access to the grounds and a farm where they grow food and marijuana.