Thursday, December 15, 2011

Court Says Defendant's Marijuana Use Was Not Religiously Motivated

In State of Idaho v. White, (ID App., Dec. 14, 2011), an Idaho state appeals court rejected defendant Cary White's claim that his marijuana use is protected by the Idaho Free Exercise of Religion Protected Act.  White's extensive testimony at an initial trial before a magistrate revealed both religious and non-religious reasons for his marijuana use. The magistrate concluded that; "White’s use of marijuana is more a matter of his belief in freedom, rather than a tenet of his religion." Reviewing that finding, the Court of Appeals concluded that:
there was substantial evidence for the magistrate to determine that, while White may have testified in a manner to link his marijuana use to legitimate religious beliefs and practices, this was more of an instance where he has utilized parts of various recognized religions “to meld into a justification for his use of marijuana” and did not ... establish a link between any recognized religious beliefs he may have and his marijuana use. Therefore, we conclude there was substantial and competent evidence to support the magistrate’s findings of fact that White’s marijuana use is not substantially motivated by a religious belief....
 Today's Idaho Statesman reports on the decision.