Church Denied Cannabis Sacrament
Top Story – Church Denied Cannabis Sacrament
HONOLULU, HI (AP) — A federal court has ruled that a church for Native Americans in Hawaii should not be excused from federal marijuana laws despite the group’s claim that ingesting cannabis is part of their sacred sacrament. The Native American Church of Hawaii had asked for relief from federal marijuana laws under the U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act, saying they used cannabis during sweat lodge ceremonies to help people connect with their creator. A district court ruled against the claim, saying the church didn’t produce enough admissible evidence about its religion other than a strong belief in the benefits of marijuana. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday upheld the district court’s decision, saying a prohibition of cannabis doesn’t impose a substantial burden on their right to exercise their religion.
COLUMBUS, OH (CRN) – One week after a medical marijuana initiative from the Marijuana Policy Project was approved for signature gathering, a second medical marijuana initiative has been approved in Ohio. The initiative from Grassroots Ohio has been certified by the Ohio Attorney General, who rejected their initial submission of a petition summary weeks prior. Now the Ohio Ballot Board must decide if the initiative is one single issue and whether it runs afoul of the anti-monopoly provisions passed into law last year to thwart the failed attempt to legalize marijuana in Ohio last year. If successful, Grassroots Ohio must collect over 305,000 signatures to make the November ballot. Grassroots Ohio’s initiative would allow anyone to use marijuana medically without a doctor’s recommendation or any registration with the state.
LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is again rejecting a proposed state constitutional amendment by Mary Berry of Summit to legalize marijuana in Arkansas. Berry’s proposal seeks to legalize the cultivation, production, sale, possession and use of the cannabis plant, including marijuana. It also calls for the release of non-violent marijuana offenders from “incarceration, probation and parole” and to expunge their convictions from criminal records. Rutledge said in a letter Thursday that there are still ambiguities in the text of the proposal. This is the eighth time she has rejected the proposal.
MONTPELIER, VT (CRN) – The Vermont House has rejected the proposed marijuana legalization bill passed by the Senate and is proposing its own decriminalization bill in response. House Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, proposed an alternative to S.241, the Senate bill that would legalize marijuana possession and create a system of marijuana shops and cultivators, but forbid home-grow of cannabis and sales of edible cannabis products. Her measure would not legalize marijuana, but rather add to Vermont’s 2012 decriminalization of an ounce of marijuana by decriminalizing cultivation of two cannabis plants. Grad’s bill also lowers the alcohol DUI limit from 0.08 to 0.05 BAC if a driver is found to have THC in his or her system as well.
WASHINGTON, DC (CRN) – Despite legalization of marijuana by a 70 percent vote in 2014, 84 percent of those arrested for public toking in the district are African-American. A major campaign talking point that sold marijuana legalization was the gross racial disparity in marijuana policing, which found as many as 9 in 10 marijuana arrestees were black. While possession of up to two ounces in public is now legal, smoking marijuana in public is still a misdemeanor with a potential $500 fine and 90 days in jail.
CALGARY, Canada (CRN) – Vancouver marijuana activist Dana Larsen was arrested by Calgary police last night following a free cannabis seed giveaway. Larsen is traversing Canada with his “Overgrow Canada” campaign, in which he vows to give away one million free cannabis seeds for public planting. Calgary police arrested Larsen and another man and confiscated Larsen’s van. “A search of the van belonging to [Larsen] resulted in the seizure of 119 grams of marijuana worth approximately $1,190, 1,097 grams of marijuana seeds worth approximately $30,000, and a small amount of cannabis resin and oil,” police said in a press release.
PORTLAND, OR (CRN) – Former NBA All-Star and Portland Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson has announced the next venture for his “Uncle Spliffy” cannabis line – a cannabis resort. In a press release, Robinson outlined plans for “Cliff Robinson’s Garden Club, an exciting and exclusive Cannabis Club and destination retreat in Oregon hosting local members-only events as well as national and international Canna-Tourism adventures.” Robinson will pitch the venture at the ArcView Group’s investor summit in Portland, taking place May 2nd and 3rd.