A YouTube video presented by lawyers for the youngest son of reggae great Peter Tosh failed to convince a judge in Hackensack to lower their client’s bail in connection with 65½ pounds of pot that Mahwah police said they found in the trunk of his car on Father’s Day weekend.
The defense argued to Superior Court Judge Judge John A. Conte that a “family bond” would hold Jawara G. McIntosh just as securely as the $200,000 bail that has kept him in the Bergen County Jail the past four months.
The video includes a brief interview with one of McIntosh’s young daughters, Selecta Jah Tosh, saying how involved he is in her and her sister’s lives. Also interviewed is his sister, Niame McIntosh, a Boston public school teacher who said her brother’s time spent behind bars so far “is really too long knowing that he’s really not a bad person.
“He’s not a menace to society.”
Niame McIntosh refers in the video to their world-renowned father, who was killed during a 1987 home invasion in his native Jamaica, as “a musical ambassador for equal rights.”
Grammy winner Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh) was a member of Bob Marley’s Wailers, arguably the most accomplished reggae band in musical history. Although an international recording star, Tosh didn’t achieve fame in the U.S. until his 1978 duet with Mick Jagger on the Temptations song “Don’t Look Back.”
He fought publicly against apartheid and for the legalization of marijuana for much of his career.
McIntosh, 33, who shares his father’s “Legalize It” advocacy and goes by the performing name “Tosh 1,” is seen in the video presented to Conte referring to himself, the youngest of his father’s sons, as the “last hope for his legacy.”
“I’m going to make sure I live up to that,” he adds:
Presented with the video, in addition to a report on the medicinal benefits of marijuana, the judge declined Monday to reduce McIntosh’s bail.
McIntosh didn’t have a license — and had open bottles of booze on the front seat — when his rental car was stopped for recklessly cutting off other motorists on Route 17 in June, Mahwah police said at the time.
The officer who pulled over the 2013 Nissan Maxima said McIntosh appeared under the influence of some type of drug. He and his passenger also gave conflicting accounts of where they’d come from and where they were headed, police said.
The vehicle was searched, with McIntosh’s consent, after other officers arrived: They found two large pieces of luggage in the trunk that reeked of pot, Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli said.
The officers found two bundles of marijuana inside one and a third in the other, Batelli said. One was shrink-wrapped, he said, and the other two were wrapped in duct tape.
Mcintosh and his passenger, Carlotta Z. Leslie, 23, both of Dorchester, Mass., Leslie “denied any knowledge that the marijuana was in the vehicle,” the chief added.
Both were arrested on charges of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute the drug. McIntosh also was charged with two counts of driving under the influence of drugs, driving with a suspended license, improper passing and having an open container of alcohol in a vehicle.
Batelli said both have criminal records. Mcintosh “had been arrested for disorderly persons offenses, assault, resisting arrest, and promoting prostitution,” while Leslie “had been arrested for resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, assault and prostitution,” he said.
A group called Cannibas Patriots Unite (CPUnite.org) says that simply isn’t so.
“Batelli’s allegation is slanderous, and completely without merit,” as well as “false and libelous,” Lee Tolson of CPUnite.org wrote in a email to CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
“The vile and completely fabricated allegations … have already damaged Jawara’s ability to defend himself,” said Tolson, an advocate for medical marijuana use from Santa Cruz, CA who says it should be used “in all the retirement communities, hospices, and nursing homes in the USA.”
On its web site, CPUnite claims McIntosh was arrested for “driving while dread[locked]” and called him the world’s “most important political prisoner.”
The California/Colorado non-profit group contends that McIntosh is accused of possessing an “herb” that in 20 states, including New Jersey, is considered to have medicinal value.
For those who follow the African-based spiritual ideology known as Rastafari, pot is a sacrament — “whether it be a stick or a ton,” the group adds.
“One crucial element of this mission is to make it very clear to the world that arrests for cannabis are politically motivated and are not based on science or legitimate social needs,” CPUnite said in a statement following the bail hearing.
“Under our mandate we hold (and science supports) that cannabis herb is a perfect medicine as it repairs, restores and supplements the mechanism by which our body heals itself: the endocannabinoid system,” it continued.
“Its ease of use, safety profile, and wide range of applications means that cannabis herb is an effective, safe medicine. It belongs into the hands of the people, for it provides treatment at fraction of the cost of currently sanctioned healthcare. In this, The Herb lives up to its reputation as The Healing of the Nation.”
Reggae hits like Peter Tosh's 'Legalise it,' among many others, give the impression that reggae music has a certain affiliation with marijuana, and that’s because it most certainly does. For many years reggae musicians have sung lyrics about the herb, and many advocate its use. However, it’s not directly from the music that this advocacy comes from; instead it’s the intrinsically linked Rastarfarian religion that holds such a close relation to ganja. So, in these modern days where Reggae stills gains musical fans, does it influence people to smoke the herb? The answer is by no means clear. However, with so many musicians across the world who aren’t Rastafarian adopting reggae as a musical form, reggaes links to cannabis could be loosening up a bit.
If there was anywhere on Earth where it was legal to blaze the chalice, one would think that that place would be Jamaica, popularised by our own legendary ambassadors such as Bob Marley (in singles such as Kaya), Peter Tosh (Legalise It), Yellow Man (Sensemilla), Rita Marley (One Draw, more popularly known as I Wanna Get High) and Buju Banton (Driva). After the most recent recommendations to decriminalise weed, made by national commissions set up in the late 1990s by the government, namely that of former prime ministers P.J. Patterson and, more recently, Bruce Golding, to study the phenomenon of this herb, it would appear that support is growing in Parliament. Justice Minister Mark Golding and Opposition Senator Tom Tavares-Finson have shown their cards.