EXCLUSIVE: The youngest son of reggae great Peter Tosh caught a plane for Jamaica this morning, with the permission of Bergen County’s top judge, so that he could perform at a concert, among other activities, while awaiting trial in connection with 65½ pounds of pot that Mahwah police said they found in the trunk of his car last Father’s Day weekend.
Jawara G. McIntosh, who has been free since posting a $200,000 cash bond in December, agreed to waive extradition should he not return to the U.S. this coming Wednesday.
“The man is a preacher, a teacher and a musician,” attorney Ron Bar-Nadav told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon. “He has a big concert in Jamaica, and he has family obligations.”
Presideing Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi was “was very gracious an generous to allow Mr. McIntosh to fulfill his obligations during Black History Month,” the lawyer said after she approved the trip on Wednesday.
February is also Reggae Month in Jamaica, which features a series of concerts in Kingston, along with several “open university” lectures and discussions on the music industry there.
Highlights include the Sound System Explosion festival tomorrow night at the Red Stripe Oval in Kingston, followed by the centerpiece of the month-long celebration, a free, online-streamed tribute concert on the Kingston waterfront Sunday for icon Dennis Brown, “the Crown Prince of Reggae,” who was 42 when he died in 1999.
During his six months behind bars, McIntosh led Bible study classes at the county jail, Bar-Nadav said.
“He’s a man full of love. He will return here, as he is supposed to,” the attorney said. “He’s got every incentive to do so.”
McIntosh, 34, 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.
In a bid to have him released in October, McIntosh’s lawyers showed a Superior Court judge in Hackensack a video that they said was proof of a “family bond” that would guarantee he doesn’t try to evade prosecution.
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 who shares his father’s “Legalize It” advocacy and goes by the performing name “Tosh 1,” refers to himself in the video as the “last hope” for his father’s legacy.
“I’m going to make sure I live up to that,” he adds:
A group called Cannibas Patriots Unite (CPUnite.org) says 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.”
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