Workers at medical marijuana and medical cannabis collectives, dispensaries, and cooperatives may protect themselves from imprisonment by the U.S. government by being medical cannabis ministers (or medical marijuana ministers).
This legal protection from inprisonment is easiest applied to the DEA and other federal agencies because of explicit Congressional law (RFRA) and related Supreme Court ayahuasca decision. A skilled lawyer should also be able to mount a religious defense in California state courts using the 1964 and 1965 peyote cases. The federal government recently used the federal Religious Land Use and Institutalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) to block the use of local zoning laws that interferred with religious beliefs.
Los Angeles, California, is currently sending out eight man teams of undercover narcotics agents, backed by SWAT and other police officers, to arrest owners and workers at medical marijuana collectives, dispensaries, and cooperatives.
I attempt to make this information as useful to as many different religions as possible.
This defense applies to those who have a sincere religious belief that they must minister to the sick, ill, and injured with medical cannabis. Unfortunately, this defense is not available for athiests, agnostics, or those who have philosophical beliefs instead of religious beliefs.
My major goal is to provide the supporting religious information for those with a sicnere religious belief to be recognized in court as a legitimate medical cannabis minister or medical marijuana minister. The accompanying blog provides almost daily religious advice. See a lawyer for legal advice.
The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) specifically grants religious exemptions to most federal laws. The U.S. Supreme Court decision Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General, et al., v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal et al., 546 U.S. 418 (2006) specifically applied the RFRA to protect religious use of ayahuasca, a schedule I drug.
Among other things (consult a lawyer) the RFRA requires the government shall not substantially burden a persons exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
Courts have upheld the right of Native Americans to use the hallucinogenic plant peyote in religious rituals, e.g., State v. Whittington, 19 Ariz. App. 27, 504 P.2d 950 (1973), cert. denied, 417 U.S. 946, 94 S.Ct. 3071 (1974); People v. Woody, 61 Cal.2d 716, 394 P.2d 813, 40 Cal. Rptr. 69 (1964); Whitehorn v. State, 561 P.2d 539 (0kl. Crim. App. 1977); contra State v. Big Sheep, 75 Mont. 219, 243 P. 1067 (1926); State v. Soto, 21 Or. App. 794, 537 P.2d 142 (1975), cert. denied, 424 U.S. 955, 96 S.Ct. 1431 (1976).
Most workers at a medical marijuana collective, cooperative, or dispensary can legitimately meet the legal standards for a religious defense against imprisonment. They just havent thought throught he religious nature of their already existing acts and beliefs.
If you can afford a lawyer, please consult a lawyer and prepare an adequate defense long before any arrest.
A prosecutor will test you on both sincerity and knowledge of your own religion. Be prepared.
Free in-person medical cannabis minister lessons offered Monday nights near the border of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, California. Send a self addressed stamped envelope to Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, California, USA, 92781 if you plan to attend (I dont show up if I dont expect any students; I will reply to your letter with the exact time and location). I check the post office box once a month (late in the month).
The accompanying blog provides almost daily information on honing and improving the quality of your religious medical marijuana ministry.
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