ASHCROFT AND D.E.A. SUED TO PREVENT RELIGIOUS AND THERAPEUTIC CANNABIS ARRESTS
A Complaint for injunctive relief was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii against U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, D.E.A. Administrator Karen Tandy, and local U.S. District Attorney Ed Kubo by religious and medicinal consumers of cannabis.
The suit seeks to enjoin the Federal government from arresting and prosecuting those residents of Hawaii whose religions and religious beliefs require the consumption of cannabis (the herb governments derogatorily label as “marijuana”).
The lawsuit also seeks protection from federal prosecution for those citizens of Hawaii who cultivate, consume and/or distribute cannabis legally pursuant to legislatively enacted Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division guidelines and valid patient/caregiver registration certificates.
The suit was sparked by the recent arrest of a local Hilo THC Ministry Reverend, and the ensuing prosecution for cannabis cultivation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The case has a strong probability of success based upon the recent ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions serve as precedent in Hawaii) in Raich v. Ashcroft. Angel Raich and other Californians and caregivers can now consume and cultivate therapeutic cannabis absent the often realized fear of federal prosecution for their use of a non-toxic and natural herbal medicine.
The Plaintiffs also rely upon the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to secure their definitive right to free exercise of religion.
That Act was recently used to prevent the federal government from prosecuting a New Mexico based, Brazilian Uniao Do Vegetal themed religion for their importation and distribution of Ayahoasca, a hallucinogenic-laced tea from the Brazilian rainforest.
According to Michael A. Glenn, Esq., the Hawaii attorney for the churches and patients suing Ashcroft, “The Federal Government has zero compelling interest in preventing either the religious or therapeutic consumption of cannabis by Hawaii’s citizens. More people died last month from eating peanuts, jaywalking or taking aspirin than have ever been harmed by cannabis in the entire history of its use. And, even if you take the federal government at face value and accept that they have the power and duty to protect one from one’s own folly, the mandatory terms of imprisonment faced by cannabis users have zero relationship to the goal of harm reduction and indeed smack of Draconian punishment for freethinking, non-violent Reverends and patients leading law abiding lives.”
Local cannabis activist and founder of the THC Ministry Reverend Roger Christie is ready to change the government’s views on cannabis. “The conspiracy against marijuana will be replaced with the truth of cannabis.”