Cannabis Churches Putting a Brand-new Spin on Christmas
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This holiday season, some folks are celebrating a green Christmas Rastafarian design. Marijuana churches are appearing in states that have actually legislated cannabis, and in states that have not, like Indiana.
Trying to make the most of humans rights to observe their faith as they choose, cannabis churches may be based on Rastafarian or Native American traditions. However, many state authorities feel that the churches are abusing their rights and in fact turning the churches into dispensaries in camouflage.
In California, which legalized medical marijuana in 1996 and is getting ready for sales of recreational cannabis to start Jan. 1, churches tied to marijuana usage have just recently popped up in Oakland, Roseville, Modesto and San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties. A couple of have been shut down by law enforcement.
“I’m not going to say they’re not churches, however to the level that they’re distributing cannabis, they’re an unlawful dispensary, in my view,” said San Jose City Lawyer Rick Doyle.
Doyle has asked for an irreversible legal injunction to stop the Coachella Valley Church from providing cannabis, and a court hearing is set for Jan. 22. He recently got a court order to close down operations of a similar church, the Oklevueha Native American Church of South Bay, he stated.
Nationally, such churches have actually opened in Indiana, where cannabis stays unlawful, and Michigan, where medical marijuana is permitted. Even in Colorado, which legalized pot in 2012, the “International Church of Cannabis” is checking the limits of state and city rules on consuming cannabis in public.
The churches rely on court rulings that made it possible for some groups, including Native Americans, to use federally banned drugs like peyote in religious events. In spite of these rulings, courts have actually so far rejected religious groups’ right to use marijuana, still prohibited at the federal level, said Douglas Laycock, a University of Virginia Law School teacher focusing on spiritual liberty issues. Yet, he said, as more states legalize marijuana, courts may concern cannabis churches’ rights more positively.
It appears as though religious beliefs linking itself with cannabis legalization will continue as well as includes another angle of pressure on federal and state governments to comprehend that cannabis legalization is a likewise a civil liberties problem. Should not people have the ability to observe their faith on Christmas with cannabis if they decide to?
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