Reggae singer Buju Banton has been charged with marijuana possession, police in Kingston, Jamaica, said today (Dec. 4).

Reggae singer Buju Banton has been charged with marijuana possession, police in Kingston, Jamaica, said today (Dec. 4). Police were conducting routine anti-drug raids in the capital last night and officers found 30 fully-grown marijuana plants in the entertainer's home. Banton, 31, who is Rastafarian, told police that he smokes marijuana for inspirational purposes. His manager Donovan Germain declined comment.

Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, was arrested and later released on bail, police said. He is scheduled to appear in Magistrate's Court to answer the charges on Monday.

Banton first gained prominence as a teenager in the early 1990s when he recorded several songs, including "Batty Rider" and "Boom Bye Bye," which condemned homosexuality and glorified the shooting of gay men.

He converted to Rastafarianism in 1994 and the following year released the roots-reggae "'Til Shiloh" album. While on tour in the United States to promote the album in 1995, gay rights groups, including the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, denounced "Boom Bye Bye" and called on sponsors not to support Banton's music.

Banton's most recent album, "Friends for Life," was released this spring by VP/Atlantic.


AP LogoCopyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.