Hawaii Cannabis Ministry Denied to Distribute Marijuana

Hawaii Cannabis Ministry Denied to Distribute Marijuana

Hawaii Cannabis Ministry Denied to Distribute Marijuana as Court Rules Hawaii Cannabis Ministry May Not Distribute Marijuana for Religious Purposes.

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Federal law does not protect the right of two ministers of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry to distribute large amounts of marijuana for their religious practices, the Ninth Circuit ruled (pdf) Tuesday.

A three-judge panel upheld the ministers’ drug-related convictions, rejecting their argument that the convictions violate their rights to exercise their religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Rev. Roger Christie founded the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry in 2000 in Hilo, a city on the island of Hawaii, with the vision of it being a community where cannabis could be celebrated as a sacrament.

Advertising the ministry’s slogan — “We use cannabis religiously and you can too” — and promising that those who joined his flock would be out of the reach of federal drug laws, Christie saw the ministry gain 3,000 converts on the island, and another 62,000 worldwide.