When Chris Brown puffed what appeared to be marijuana on stage during a show in Ghana last week, he called into question the country’s no-public-smoking laws. Now, some Ghanaians are calling for the embattled singer to be deported and prosecuted for his infraction.
“He promoted an illegality,” Ghanaian youth activist Jonathan Osei-Owusu, told Radio.com. “You can see from the video and yet he was let go free.”
Osei-Owusu is the executive director of Perfector of Sentiments [POS], a youth advocacy organization in Ghana. He is leading the campaign to have Chris Brown stand trial for promoting the public smoking of marijuana to a stadium full of young people.
In a petition obtained by Radio.com Osei-Owusu calls on key figures in Ghana, including Parliament and the U.S. Ambassador in Ghana, to act. He accuses Brown of inciting young people to rage against their country’s laws.
“He is on video to have encouraged the audience to take up arms against people who stand in their way to smoking weed,” the statement reads. “In our prisons, many are incarcerated for same.”
While Radio.com has not witnessed evidence of Brown calling Ghanaian citizens to arms in the clips that have appeared online, Bown can be seen openly lighting what appears to be a blunt and explicitly promoting marijuana smoking during his March 6 appearance.
Brown hit the stage on the 56th anniversary of Ghana’s independence at Accra Sports Stadium Concert to help citizens celebrate. At one point in his show, he asks the crowd, “How many of y’all smoke weed?”
The crowd can be heard responding with enthusiasm as Brown continues. “If anybody is tripping off ya’ll smoking weed, f*** them,” he says. “S***, I got my blunt right here.”
He begins to openly smoke in front of the crowd while playing a medley of ode-to-marijuana songs, including Rick James‘ “Mary Jane,” Dr. Dre‘s “The Next Episode” and Afroman‘s “Because I got high.” [See clip from the show, here.]
The event organizers have said it was an orchestrated stunt and Brown was not smoking marijuana. But Osei-Owusu insists that it was weed Brown was puffing on stage.
“When you live in the city or the village, you understand the smell of marijuana,” he said. “I was there. We smelled weed. That is what he promoted.”
Not only does Ghana have strict laws against drug possession and use, the country recently passed a law to ban smoking tabacco in public places. The penalty can be a steep fine and/or up to three years in prison.
“The last two days, I have been with the police and an investigation has commenced,” Osei-Owusu said. “The police have moved swiftly and they are not leaving anything unturned.”
At the root of Osei-Owusu’s requests is American involvement.
“The same way that America is fighting a drug menace, this is a call for them to see that one of their own has come to a country like Ghana–as much as we have struggled to maintain sanity and fight the drug menace– to break the law,” he said. “The onus lies with the American government to team up with our security agency in Ghana to make sure Chris Brown faces the full rigors of the law.”