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An Italian court has acquitted a man of cannabis possession because he is a Rastafarian and was using the drug to meditate.

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The 30-year-old was arrested in May last year after police found eight grams of cannabis in his pocket and a further 50 grams at his home.

A prosecutor called for him to be sentenced to up to four months in prison, but his lawyer successfully argued he should be acquitted because cannabis is regarded as sacred in the Rastafari religion.