Pittsburgh, PA (MPR Consulting) – An unfortunate familiar scene took place over Memorial weekend at the annual Kaya Fest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when reggae recording artist ORieL and his bandmate were detained by Pittsburgh PD for suspicion of Marijuana possession.
The humble artist scheduled performance to an eager crowd was delayed after an officer reported smelling marijuana, and called for backup. Speaking on the incident, ORieL stated “We were briefly detained for smoking a spliff in the tour van. I asked the officer why he was drawing his firearm, because we were doing as he asked, our hands were up, and the spliff was put out. “Why use a cannon to kill a mosquito ?” Why not work out an amicable solution? His approach is the reason that many situations like this end up with people getting injured for no reason.”
The artist added “Music and herb go together, society knows this. The idea that cannabis makes you hostile, etc etc is an outdated concept in this modern society. Many a prison and policing budget depend on keeping the status quo. Thats one thing, but the bigger issue is the approach and how police deal with us on a day to day basis.”
With the utmost respect for the law, this hasn’t dithered ORieL’s respect for those who take the oath to protect and serve. “I support officers who are maintaining and providing protection to the people, not bullies with badges and guns. The motto of the police force is to protect and serve, and we need more officers who aim to uphold their pledge to society and not the ones intending to stroke their own egos by misusing and abusing their power. People don’t trust the police, and situations like this only perpetuate an already broken system. We need to find new ways of policing that can transform. You cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results, you cannot arrest or ticket your way out of prohibition. Musicians, painters, nurses, patients all sort of people perform the age old tradition of burning a spliff and that is never going to stop.”
Despite the delays, the vibes were in full effect and ORieL delivered a memorable performance to an audience of every race, creed and class who were all united by music.
Wishing to move past the events of the night, ORieL lastly added “The police need to develop a more open mindset and approach unique situations with the same humility and respect that we show to them. Excessive use of power in these situations not only damages the relationship between the police and the community, but is a waste of resources. We need people power to move towards a more community-based method of policing. Way up.” – ORieL
“This was the scene first night in Pittsburgh right before I&I performance at the #KayaFest _ Dutty babylon smelled the higher grades and decide to exalt themselves on I&I. Delayed our schedule performance an entire hour all because they don’t want us to get #Medicated . Not pictured here is the amont of squad cars that was deployed to put Rasta in cuffs and give us tickets #smh #pittsburgh #duttybabylon #legalizeIt” (According to ORieL on Facebook)
Note: The use of Marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania is still illegal, although an Bill for legalization of Medical Marijuana was recently signed.