Thursday, July 09, 2015

Cannabis Church Sues Under Indiana's New RFRA

In a move foreshadowed two months ago (see prior posting), in Indiana the First Church of Cannabis has filed suit invoking the state's recently-enacted RFRA in an attempt to shield the Church, its founder and two of its members from prosecution for possession of marijuana.  The complaint (full text) in First Church of Cannabis, Inc. v. State of Indiana, (IN Cir. Ct., filed 7/8/2015), alleges that cannabis is the sacrament of the Church, and laws punishing possession of marijuana and visiting a place where marijuana is used substantially burden plaintiffs' exercise of religion. The Indianapolis Star reports that more than 100 people attended the Church's second service yesterday evening, but because of prosecution threats it is not using cannabis at its services until it is successful in its lawsuit. According to WTHR News, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry complained:
Our office and police agencies have serious public safety issues we have to address every single day. I am beyond frustrated that we are having to devote valuable time and resources to this matter solely because of an ill-advised and unnecessary law enacted by our legislature, The act serves no purpose, no purpose whatsoever, other than political posturing.