Ask NORML: Viability of the Religious Use Defense

A new installment of ‘Ask NORML’ is now streaming on NORMLtv. In this episode, listen to founder and legal counsel, Keith Stroup, discuss the viability of using the religious use argument as a defense in marijuana cases.

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47 thoughts

  1. …excerpt from the Gospel of Peace by the Essenes states: …”Obey, therefore, the words of God: ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is breath of life, I give every green herb for meat”. …In terms of a trace element profile, when grown properly with rich supplementation, Ganja is a very efficient accumulator of the trace elements of the platinum group spectrum, which in turn, equates to Manna or “Ormes”; heat sensitive, piezoelectric, mono atomic crystalline metal salts that nourish the ka or light body, as well as many other positive effects, such as repairing the “springyness” of DNA, eradicating cancer, etc.. Manna is the sacrament that Moses fed to his disciples crossing the desert. This is far older than the Ras’ta’farr’ian(prince, to be feared, prince, to be respected) bible, yet still the same basis. Time for an EVOLUTION. There is the quantifiable scientific basis for the religious historical argument; it’s up to you folks, to do the rest!!!!!!! Manna translates into light!!! Let truth shine bright! For further info research ORME’s(mono-atomic gold)David hudson’s lectures or read; Laurence Gardner’s book “Lost secrets of the Sacred Arc”!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. “Genesists believe in God and God’s Sacrament.”
    References:
    Genesis I:11, 12.
    Genesis I:29, 30, 31 – “The Sixth Day.”
    Genesis IX:3.
    Ezekiel “The Prophet” XXXIV:29,30,31.
    Exodus XXX:22-29.
    The Genesist Faith began on “The Sixth Day” of our creation. This makes it the oldest Faith in the history of mankind. “The Reformation” began in 1990. Any monotheistic religion reflects the belief and trust in the Genesist Faith as a “Distinctive Faith within that religion” as referenced above. Man’s law is incidental to God’s Law – and – the “Establishment Clause” in the First Amendment of the Constitution supersedes any and all law that proscribes laws prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The “establishment” of religion can be of this very day – and – carry the full effect of the law as if it were day one.
    Establishment Clause.“Without exemption (circumscription – qualification) no person(s) shall make any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
    Definitions:
    Religious Exercise means: 1.) any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to a system of religious belief. 2.) any conduct protected as exercise of religion under the first amendment of the Constitution.
    Free Exercise means: That portion of the first amendment to the Constitution that proscribes laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion and includes the application of that proscription under the 14th amendment to the Constitution.
    Manna [Food from God] is our Sacrament.
    Received [with] thanksgiving, Manna is a divine benevolence – God’s sign of that which is sacred, a visible form of God’s invisible grace, a religious rite that confers special grace. In CDXX Communion a Genesist’s individual eternal spirit embraces the Spirit of God “within” – the individual eternal spirit of the essence reaching out to receive the spirit of the Source – a ceaseless flow of energy – “Equilibrium of the Soul.” Everything that is given to us by God is good – very good. God’s attributes are
    immutable. God has given us all things. Whatever God has given endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken away from it. God has made it so.
    The green herb/Manna/food/meat is regarded as a gift from God, and eating sacred.
    God’s Sacrament, this blessed plant Manna – is a significant part of a Genesist’s everyday religious life. Genesists have an intrinsic relationship with our Sacrament. By honoring Manna as our Sacrament, by keeping God’s statutes, Genesists enjoy the ordinances of our Faith. Genesists believe in, and honor God’s will, word and blessing.
    Yes! Man i.e. the federal government will not accept our Faith and Sacrament – but then – that’s our grievance. Therefore – Genesists invoke a “Conscience Clause” – and frankly – man/government can “suck egg!”

  3. How many of OUR freedoms are they going to take away in the War on drugs and the war on marijuana? Marijuna is a HERB. How can they outlaw a herb? Any laws that are unjust should be broken. Period. If your religion uses marijuana as a sacrement …use it as a sacrement.

  4. Religious use is the same BS as Medical Marijuana defense. Stop beating around the bush and get back to full legalization.
    Stop making sick people break Federal Law!

  5. “Neither the trappings of robes, nor temples of stone, nor a fixed liturgy, nor an extensive literature or history is required to meet the test of beliefs cognizable under the Constitution as religious. So far as our law is concerned, one person’s religious beliefs held for one day are presumptively entitled to the same protection as the beliefs of millions which have been shared for thousands of years.”
    — Judge Jack Weinstein, New York State, 1977
    Blasphemy

  6. If the ACLU really wanted to do something for this country, they’d take a cannabis case all the way to the supreme court with religion as a defense. You can’t tell me Rastafarians aren’t being arrested for small quantities.

  7. 7. Aging Hippie
    “Religious use is the same BS as Medical Marijuana defense.”
    Although the government rejects both these defenses – those of faith, and the ill, vehemently do not – and – we are fighting with everything in us to reverse the BS you speak of – which by the way we receive from government, those of no faith [no hope], and old farts. I’m 73 years old so I can say old fart [no offense to the elderly]. Thank God we’re in America – where you can make a negative statement like you have – BUT WAIT – that may be the next freedom on governments hit list. Although recreational use is right up there with religious, and medical use – you might remember that we are all fighting for the same thing – defeat prohibition – period. BTW – may I remind you that you have a “next” button. If you don’t like what you see – just press it and move on [just a suggestion – not an order].

  8. Religious, and medical are a waste of time in my book. It should be available to all because we are free to choose for ourselves. THAT is the foundation of American values. How could we have forgotten this to the extent that the legalization movement is so fractured and doesn’t have any focus.
    You lack focus Daniel son! Some are missing the point of the video. It may be true to you, but it’s not to “system”. It’s exactly the same as medical, it may be true, but it’s not true to the “system”. THAT is why the system has to be changed. Legalize for all not just for one group!~

  9. Cannabis is the best substance in the world to be able to self-reflect and to feel the joy of laughter.
    Religion becomes more welcomed and easier to understand by coming up with your very own questions under the influence of cannabis.
    Without cannabis life sucks and dreams are for fools.

  10. Whether consumed as a medicine or a sacrament,a plant seeks nothing from us. It asks for only an offering of land, light, and water.

  11. To: Keith Stroup NORML
    “Viability of the Religious Use Defense.”
    Dear Keith,
    I find it a pleasure and an honor to speak with you on a personal and individual basis. Make no mistake – Genesists are law abiding citizens of our great country. If it weren’t for that fact – prohibs would be high-tailing it for cover. But – we follow, and are respectful, of the rule of law – as unjust as it may be in the case of our Faith and Sacrament – as well as all human beings. Frankly – personally however – “I don’t mind paying any price under the sun to be free.” Frankly – Genesists are “all out of patience – zip, zero, done.” Frankly – my karma just ran over their dogma. Put plainly and simply – it’s time to take back our American Spirit and country – and – patience be damned.
    Government has run into its brick wall – as far as Genesists are concerned. Their “Goon Squad” [jack-booted killer robots] have annihilated what little patience we had left for their unconstitutional, unjust, and inhumane law. As for their crimes against humanity – let them wear their disgrace on the bosoms of their souls – and – appropriately defend themselves against the distain of an angry American people without pity – and – well deserved [What goes around – comes around].
    Keith – just because there’s no accepted defense presently – doesn’t mean we can’t achieve one, by removing Compelling Justification and Prior Competing Governmental Interests from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 as voidable and severed – certainly not by surrendering. I believe it is best said by 2. Thomas K Sterling and 9. DdC quoting Judge Jack Weinstein – and – I’m sure many more to follow.
    Thanking you in advance for your understanding and patience with our lack of patience, and with all Genesist’s fervor and objectives, I remain,
    Sincerely yours,
    Manford Mantis
    Minister of the Genesist Faith

  12. 12. Chris in WI
    Why do you belittle religious and medicinal use? The faithful and ill don’t belittle recreational use – in fact – we are as much – if not more – for full legalization as anyone on this planet. Is it because you feel that someone or something is gaining more headway – and – you feel left out – or – “unequal.” You don’t get it Chris – everything in life is 50/50 – but – give credit where credit is due – when religious and medicinal use is on more solid ground than recreational use. The Controlled Substance Act was created to regulate “Recreational Use – and – Substance Abuse.” Think about all of the Wisconsin Genesists and compassionate use patients you’re bashing.

  13. If you are a declared Genesist – put a catital “G” behind your name. Example: Manford Mantis “G”. Even better – of the 3,1341 Genesist Colonies in the U.S. put your county [colony] and state. Example: Genesis, San Diego, Ca. Colony.

  14. Mind if I do a J, I’m on a strict drug regime. Being a Dudeist, an updated form of Taoistic philosophy, has a cannabis componant. Cannabis is a sacrement for achieving abiding grace, used by some but not all Dudeists.
    We see prohibition as contrary to our “Take ‘er Easy” manifesto, it is a violent, aggressive and mean spirited policy. Putting profit above the well being of the community. This aggression can not stand.
    The Dude abides.

  15. Maybe I am not making it clear. I am saying that we are all fighting for the same thing. Medical for only the sick hurts the movement. Cannabis as a sacriment ONLY for the religious hurts it.
    It should be legal because ALL of us have the right to choose it. It should not be restricted to just YOU. You should stick up for my rights too is my point. I stick up for yours.
    I am just as outraged when a teenager goes to jail for a joint as I am a cancer patient. So if you think I’m belittling what medical cannabis has done you are wrong.
    I am pointing out that medical and religious use are just trees in the same legalization forest and we need to stop letting the government thin out the forest just so long as they leave your tree alone.

  16. Compelling Justification and Prior Competing Governmental Interest is a “diabolical and flagrant violation of the Constitution.” If one can refute this statement with any legitimacy – the scales of justice are severely tilted, the lady’s blind fold is off, and she is a total embarrassment and disgrace to the robe she wears, and We the People of the United States of America.
    This country – my country – our country – is in “dyer straits” – and – needs every true – freedom loving – American to stand up and be counted. Just because you can’t see it happening – doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. There’s two ways to be fooled – “To believe what isn’t true – or – refuse to believe what is true.” It’s up to you!

  17. 21. Chris in WI
    Any use that achieves success [beats the shit out of prohibition]is good. Chris – perhaps you still don’t get it. Yes! everyone is fighting for total legalization. Just because medical or religious use are a few rounds ahead on points doesn’t justify recreational use hitting below the belt. Just keep punching and we will all go the rounds. It’s not “restricted’ to any one use – it’s a “round won” in a hard fought fight. Recreational use [in the eyes of the ref] just hasn’t qualified for the Main Event [yet] – but – it will – and – most importantly is a heavy contender – touted to soon be the Champ. Just keep jabbing with your left until you can land the big right hand – but – don’t back to your corner complaining about medical and religious use getting more punches in. Eye of the tiger man!

  18. Have you listened to Montel Williams? He is working toward legalization? No! He says it should only be available to the sick. He thinks the rest of us should be criminals. How is his Medical crusade helping me and my rights?
    I’m sticking to my guns. EVERYONE should be on the same sheet of music here. The Shafer Commission stated that Cannabis should be de-scheduled and Nixon ignored his own rules. The current (or future) US AG needs to fulfill the obligations of that office and de-schedule Cannabis in accordance with the report “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding”.
    That is our best bet for everyone involved. EVERYBODY gets to CHOOSE. Not just the sick. 2 medical activists over here and 2 religious ones over there are not as effective as 4 acting as one coordinated unit.

  19. 25. Chris in WI
    I get it Chris – you’re progressive. Spread the wealth and everything else. That’s great – for you. But – what about the guy who has made it through hard work and diligence – do you think he wants your hand in his pocket. Would you want your hand in his pocket. Hell! you might get it chopped off. Same thing here. Besides religious use – I also have diabetes and have medicinal use. I along with many others have fought hard, were diligent, and made it happen – bringing it one step closer to total legalization [which we are also fighting for – or – I wouldn’t be discussing it with you now]. Do you really want to bash us for succeeding. Every positive action – brings it closer to “your dream.” Don’t bash your own dream – and – quit picking bones. Enough said. Have a Great CDXX Communion.

  20. One thing that is never addressed here is the fact that in some places one is forbidden from opening up a medical marijuana facility within 1000 feet or more of a church. If you looked into the matter legally this can be grounds for a discrimination case. I am not dealing with the religious use defence here. I am dealing with the fact that not only do churches that have a religious use of cannabis but many other churches have come out for legalization, such as the Unitarian-universalists. Now I cannot speak for Unitarian-universalists or any other denominations here. They too might oppose or might not oppose a facility being located near their house of worship. The point is that the law assumes that all churches are anti-marijuana and that locating a dispensary near a house of worship is an act of disrespect to the religion. Some churches do feel that way. But why should the law simply assume that all religions are anti-cannabis and would regard it an affront to have a dispensary located near a house of worship? Is this not imposing the religious beliefs of some upon all. Is this not a violation of the establishment clause of the constitution? If a church, regardless of whether they recognize a religious use of cannabis or not does not see cannabis use as a sin should they not have the choice of whether they allow a dispensary to be located with 1000 feet of them? If we suppose there is a religion that supports legalization for all and/or medical marijuana should it not be within their rights to not require that the cannabis facility be located 1000 feet away from them. Here I am talking anout not those churches that support a religious use for cannabis but those who do not recognize a religious use but at least support the medical use of marijuana? Can we advocate that such churches be allowed to, in cooperation with the owners of the proposed facility have a waiver that allows the facility to be located within 1000 feet of the house of worship. What seems to be happening here is that some chuches, quite often Christian conservative churches and other reactionary churches of other denominations are being declared by the government to be the legitimate form of their religion and that other churches who may not have the religious use of cannabis but do support medical marijuana are being told that they are not legitimate represenatitives of their faith? This seems to be an imposition of a religion by government on the people that violates the establishment clause. It is simply unfair that those religions which regard cannabis as a sin are able to impose their will on other religions that do not at least regard medical cannabis as a sin. Is there a way to drive a wedge between those progressive religions that support medical marijuana and those who think cannabis is a sin? Can we use such an alliance with progressive churches that may not regard cannabis in a religious way but support medical marijuana to fight against the unjust cannabis laws. When are people going to realize that the govenment is violating the establishment clause and is imposing the religious views of some upon all, even if that imposition is not the imposition of a particular denomination on others but is only an imposition of a reactionary theology held by many reactionary congregations upon all congregations. Is there a possible case her we can use to advance the goal of not only legalizing marijuana but lending theological legitimacy to cannabis without that theological legitimact taking the form of cannabis spirituality?

  21. 27. Wade
    “Is there a way to drive a wedge between those progressive religions that support medical marijuana and those who think cannabis is a sin? Can we use such an alliance with progressive churches that may not regard cannabis in a religious way but support medical marijuana to fight against the unjust cannabis laws.”
    Wade,
    May I suggest the Genesist Faith as a “wedge.” The Genesists Faith is a “Distinctive Belief” in any monotheistic religion. In other words – if one is Christian – one would declare their religion to be a Christian Genesist – or – a Jew, a Jewish Genesist – and – so on. Genesists per se – do not have a church. Our church is the religion we claim to be. Our church is our conscience. So! – any attack against a Genesist is an attack against “all religions,” the Establishment Clause, and our Constitution – but – mostly our freedom. Who in their right, correct, and stable mind would take on God and his word??????????? Confession: I have in the past – and – it brought me nothing but trouble [I asked for it – and by God – I got it].
    P.S. This is for those who seriously believe in their scriptures – “Cannabis is not a sin – it’s God’s word, gift, and blessing – Genesis I:29,30,31.”

  22. Ok, this is getting ridiculous!
    One simple reason to legalize marijuana: It is NOT the business of government, at any level, to tell me what I may, or may not, smoke, drink, eat, listen to, speak with, look at, or many other things that fall into the category of a victim-less crime. ADDITIONAL ARGUMENTS if the above isn’t simple enough for you: If I, as an adult, choose to imbibe whatever and, in the process, do not hinder, hurt or otherwise jeopardize the safety of any other person, then why should I be denied? There is NO valid reasoning. Because the arguments are being complicated by adding constraints or limitations to them, the simplicity of the concept of FREEDOM to choose is being lost.

  23. Dear American Genesist,
    I am not a monotheist. I follow the pagan Greek religion in which there is a worship of many gods; it is polytheistic, not monotheistic. The paricular form of that religion which I follow, although it involves the worship of many gods is a humanist form of that religion. In other words it a a nontheistic religion that is similar to ethical culture. The gods are not personal historical beings but are psychological archetypes who do not exist as real personal beings. The form of the pagan Greek religion I practice is based on the materialist Epicurean philosophy. I am not sure whether my religion fits in with what you call the Genesisst faith. I am a priest of the pagan Greek religion and recognize that there are others of my faith who are polytheistic.ore to the pointthe question is how do we unify people of all faiths who are progressive on this issue to take action, including legal action on this issue. It seems that you have the idea of unifying people which is the first step on the road but one has to go further. One has to develop a way in which a group of progressive churches can unite and decide on a course of action which would involve chalenging the law in court not on the basis of someone being brought to trial because of a bust but on the basis of the church chalenging laws based on the notion that such laws are violating the establishment clause based on imposing the reactionary theological idea that cannabis is a sin on all denominations not the imposition of a single denomination on all people by the government. Such a group would chalenge the law on a moral basis saying that it is the moral responsibility of all religions to help sick people get the medicine they need. Too often the 1000 foot limit for churches limits the space where dispensaries can be located. THe group of churches must show that it does not think that cannabis is the sin but that denying people their medicine is the sin. While I am more than willing to work with monotheists and people of all religious persuasions to achieve this task the alliance must be broad enough to include pagans and all types of humanists in the set of progressive religious groups pursuing such a course. To insist that one must have monotheism or any kind of theism as the unifying factor would unnecessarily exclude pagans, pagan secular humanists, nonpagan secular humanists and organized atheist groups from such an alliance. We cannot inadventently exclude any religious group that is progressive on the cannabis issue (even if it is conservative on other issues) from the alliance. Theologyn is not the issue here. We shouls not be trying to establish a unified theology for all such progressive groups. The issue is an ethical issue. A common ethics shared between all religious groups that consider it a sin to deny their people medicine and reject the notion that cannabis is a sin must be the notion that brings the disparate religious groups together. To try to bring people together on a shared theology instead of a shared ethical stance on this issue of access of patients to their medicine would be an error. Ethics, not theology is the issue.

  24. 30. Wade
    From one priest to another.
    Genesists [the Genesist Faith] are monotheistic – which includes all religions and “isms.” That means – although we {Geneists] believe in “one God” – we respect polythe”ism” – even athe”ism.” – as religion or faith. The Establishment Clause does not define how many or how few Gods it takes to practice “the free exercise thereof.”
    Culture:
    1. a) Development, improvement, or refinement of the intellect, emotions, interests, manners, and taste. b) The result of this; refined ways of thinking, talking, and acting.
    2. Development or improvement of physical qualities by special training or care.
    3. a) The ideas, customs, skills, art, skills of a people or group, that are transferred, communicated, or passed a long, as in or to succeeding generations. b) Such ideals, customs, etc. of a particular people or group of particular people; civilization. c) The particular people having such ideas, customs, etc.
    It would appear that – regardless of how many Gods [or where they came from] we believe in – we are a total culture of a particular people. I believe this is the foundation of the wedge you speak of – to build your/our house on. Yes – I speak directly to Genesists – but – my words do find the ears of all who listen or individually care to listen. Genesists are individuals – and – as individuals – follow the Spirit within us. I – and Genesist’s Spirits – and – the Spirit of God within us – are devoted to our conscience – which is based on “the intrinsic goodness of humanity and truth, and is the foundation and fundamental tenet of the Genesist Faith.
    The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 was violated by Compelling Justification and Prior Competing Governmental Interests. The common ground [foundation] for all – is to build on, and repeal, is Compelling Justification and Prior Competing Governmental Interests. To reverse this violation would set us free on religious use.
    I would love to speak more with you on this subject, and the union of believers or non-believers as the case may be – so – let’s create an argument that everyone could participate in. We will soon run out of board – so – to continue let’s pick it up when this board disappears.
    Good CDXX Communion.
    Manny
    Genesis San Diego, Ca. Colony

  25. Dear American Genesisist,
    I complrtrly agree with you about eliminating the “Compelling Justification and Prior competing Governmental Interests”. To do so would make it far easier for a religious use defense to win in court. But while we work to eliminate this onerous doctrine we should also try to work to chalenge the 1000 foot laws that exist in many communities. By doing we we can bring together all those religions which involve themselves in cannabis spirituality to eliminate the “Comeling Justification” doctrine to allow for religious use of cannabis per se and those religions, which whether they belive in cannabis spirituality or not to chalewnge the 1000 foot law as well. We can chalenge the 1000 foot law without the case being based on a bust and seek legal hguidance as to whether a case against “Compelling Justification” can be brought to court without the case being based on a bust or whether the case needs to be based on a bust. It might be easier to chalenge the 1000 foot law and we might get more support but both types of cases should be pursued.

  26. 32. Wade
    If you are a Qualified Patient – and – you live within 1000 feet of a school, park, Community Center – basically where ever children congregate – you can medicate “in your house.” That’s California. So! because it’s a no brainer for us – it confuses them.
    The First Amendment proscribes laws that deny or prohibit “the free exercise thereof.” The violation – causing it to be voidable – is Compelling Justification, and Prior Competing Governmental Interests. They’ve committed a crime against the law by doing so. Defeat these two violation – and – Religious Freedom will prevail. And – it will be accomplished on a federal level.
    We may lose each other on this board. I’ll find you on the next post.

  27. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on February 2 that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Rastafarian defendants should be allowed to show that they use marijuana for bona fide religious reasons in their defense against charges of possession of marijuana (U.S. v. Bauer, No. 94-30073, 96 C.D.O.S. 756, 1996WL42240 (9th Cir. 1996); http://www.law.vill.edu/Fed-Ct/Circuit/9th/opinions/9430073.htm; Reynolds Holding, “Rastafarian Pot Could Be Legal,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 3, 1996, p. A14; “Marijuana For Religious Reasons,” Washington Post, February 5, 1996, p. A10; Associated Press, “Court: Rastafarians Can Hold Marijuana,” Chicago Tribune, February 4, 1996, p. 9).
    Here is a kink to Guam v guerro. This is the first case that allowed the religious defense and was victorious.
    http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1355714.html
    That’s just something to chew on Keith.
    [Editor’s note: NORML help represent Mr. Guerro against Guam…and the major problem for the case is that it is ONLY applicable to Guam (not the rest of the US), therefore the case it almost useless–unless you live on an atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.]

  28. The case is applicable to the federal court. The appeal was heard in the 9th circuit and is precedent.

  29. The editors note is a complete lie. The ruling is from the 9th circuit and stands in all of the 9th circuit. The ruling was noted by the Judge in my trial.
    He said numerous times “that may be the law in the 9th ciruit, but not the third”. The Judge himself said this at least 5 times during trial.
    This ruling, combined with the 14th amendment, gives people an equal protection argument for religious purposes in federal court. Especially in states that have medical exemptions from prosecution.
    Maybe NORML can point out any case of a medical user winning any sort of federal case on medical grounds?
    Ohh, sorry, they can’t.
    From the editors note one can conclude that the religious defense has been used successfully. Why is it that they now admit what before was so obviously not in existence with their vast resources?
    [Editor’s note: Where did you go to law school? Mickey Mouse Law? Now you’re just making stuff up…Fact One: The defendant won at trial; Fact Two: After the DOJ and Guam appealed to 9th Circuit court ruled that ONLY Rastafarians who get arrested on federal land in nine western states and Guam can assert such a defense based of a parochial provision in Guam’s laws (i.e., Organic Act of Guam). However, only residents of Guam who can demonstrate a history of adherent Rastafarian can qualify to assert the defense as they’re about the only non-Native Americans who reside on federal lands in the west (Native American tribes have separate laws and agreements with the federal government regarding matters of law enforcement, notably alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act)].

  30. Here is another question from a mere laymen to you high priced windbags.
    Now that you finally admit that there is a case on file that allows for the religious defense of cannabis in a US federal court system. What stops people from making an equal protection argument that our 14th Amendment provides? One can argue, and has argued(myself), this very argument in federal court. I lost in the magistrate court and filed for a stay of sentence. Somehow, by myself, I got my sentence stayed.
    I then filed my appeal and the ruling of the judge was quite interesting to say the least. The judge upheld my conviction because I couldn’t show anywhere in the Rastafarian religion that required me to smoke at the Liberty Bell. The judge then vacated(threw out) my sentence. Why would he do that?
    The judge also remanded 6 of the 9 terms of probation back to the magistrate court because of the constitutional issues that created an impediment to me practicing my faith. One of which was the fact I couldn’t use marijuana.
    The Magistrate court never rendered a decision on those issues, he just swept it under the carpet.
    Judge Stewart Dalzell wrote ” Since the Regulation does not forbid Forchion and Duff from possessing marijuana outside of national parks, it creates no impediment to the free exercise of their faith in their homes, their houses of worship, or other non-federal locations. With so many alternative places to practice Rastafarianism, the ban on marijuana possession in national parks does not force Forchion and Duff to choose between abandoning their faith and facing criminal prosecution. ”
    I believe this is where you will need to put an editors note……..
    [Editor’s note: High price? You must have NORML, a non-profit organization, confused with commercial law firms as NORML does not make one dime off litigating cases and the lawyers DONATE their time.
    Good luck in the federal appeals case…which if successful there (which is unlikely) goes to SCOTUS, who, in the recent Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal (2006), ruled that a drug like cannabis will NOT qualify for exemption under the CSA for religious purposes.
    Meaning, unfortunately, you are in fact wasting your time appealing to a federal court system that has already set a very recent precedent that you’re not going to overcome. The court–which is now even more conservative– effectively ruled that Congress needs to amend the CSA re religious exemption defenses concerning substances like cannabis as they’re not going to extend a religious defense to cannabis consumers.]

  31. This argument has brought out the fighter in me again. I am filing a lawsuit this coming month against the US govt in order to get some clarity on the religious use of cannabis. I will keep you updated…

  32. Patrick, you are an a$$. Do us all a favor and don’t cloud the argument for legalization with your irrational and confrontational manner.

  33. I believe the release of the video by Keith Stroup about the viability of the religious use of marijuana was issued for a devious reason. My thoughts are backed up by recent articles where Roger Christie has been demonized by NORML members. The video doesn’t mention Roger, but Hawaii is in the 9th circuit, the same as Guam v Guerro. If NORML helped Guerro, why not help Roger?
    [Editor’s note: Mr. Christie has not been demonized by NORML (you must be confusing NORML with the priests in HI who ordained Christie in the 1990s who now totally disavow him as commercial profiteer pretending to be a religious martyr). Mr. Guerro was not selling $250 ‘legal religious defense kits’ and then providing no help to the hundreds of cannabis consumers who purchased them, got busted and tried to assert Christie’s bogus pie-in-the-sky legal advice claiming that virtually any cannabis consumer can avoid criminal penalties by claiming to use cannabis for religious purposes.]

  34. Question: Where exactly in the Gonzales v. O Centro was it “ruled that a drug like cannabis will NOT qualify for exemption under the CSA for religious purposes?”
    Because I am quite confident it says no such thing.
    Where did YOU go to law school?
    [Editor’s note: As much as you (and some other will-not-face-legal-reality folk) may want SCOTUS’ previous decisions to support the contention that cannabis is a protected religious sacrament…they don’t.
    The court ruled in Gonzales v. O Centro that schedule I drugs that already are being used in mass illegally by the general public do NOT qualify for religious protections. Period. The most used illegal drug in America is cannabis….
    Question: Guess who is not going before the Roberts’ court anytime soon and successfully arguing that cannabis should be exempt from CSA like Peyote and Ayahuasca?
    Answer: Cannabis consumers who claim to use the herb as a religious sacrament.
    Want a different legal reality? Amend existing federal law to either recognize cannabis as a religious sacrament and/or simply pass legislation that legalizes cannabis overall.
    The federal (and state) courts, unfortunately, are NOT the venue for legal relief here….
    Lastly, since Gonzales v. O Centro in 2006, two other federal courts have rejected cases that claim religious use of cannabis in NM and HI. And AZ’s high court also recently ruled against the defense. What case was cited to knock them down? Gonzales v. O Centro!!!]

  35. I’ve started noticing, with the current situation that I’m in, and the research that has followed, that marijuana use as a religious practice does not harm another human, and yet is not given the same religious freedoms as Christianity. Quiet the reverse can be said about Christianity, in many of the excerpts I have come across. Ranging from Poverty to Emotional abuse. Marijuana users have been fired because of a failed UA and not able to find another job of the same or equal income because the that subsequent findings. I also haven’t found in any of my research a case where a marijuana user has gone and murdered or blown up a building because of something that was going on against their religion. How many deaths of women, Dr. and other staff, have occurred at abortion clinics because it goes Christian law? Ascension

  36. I am Michael Anthony Sakell and for my entire adult life I have practiced unique religious beliefs that ultimately resulted in my excommunication by the Mormon Church for supporting the medical and spiritual use of marijuana. In 1996 after my excommunication I started a ‘ turn myself in’ campaign in Oregon yet no one would arrest me for my controversial beliefs; neither local or state law enforcement nor federal DEA. Hence I went to Utah to challenge my MC excommunication and was yet further ignored thus I created The Latter-day Hempsters of Christ Cannabis Church and hosted a Cannabis Spiritual Revival in Salt Lake City. In 2000 I hosted a similar revival at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in Eugene, Oregon where I currently reside and continue my ministry work hosting similar events intended to share the healing Cannabis plant as I sincerely believe I have been commanded to share the tremendous benefits of this God-given herbal remedy with those suffering and in desperate need of its undeniable medicinal properties. Doctrine and Covenants
    Section 42 and 43: And whosoever among you are sick and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy. Doctrine and Covenants Section 59 17 Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
    18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
    19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
    20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.
    21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.
    22 Behold, this is according to the law and the prophets; wherefore, trouble me no more concerning this matter.
    23 But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.
    24 I, the Lord, have spoken it, and the Spirit beareth record. Amen.

  37. have written a petition that i would like to share once it is approved.
    i am asking(telling) god is infinite, because of this god encompasses all substance. to regulate which church someone attends is alike to regulating the substance one would commune with the highest power through. government shall make no law respecting religious institution or the free exercise thereof. see also 9th amendment. also religious freedom restoration act. would’ve liked a professional lawyer/judge to peruse for additional things i could add but anybody i emailed apparently wasn’t interested in freedom and stuff like that.

  38. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Any way I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently fast.

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