Monday, May 22, 2017

Suit By Cannabis Church To Enjoin Prosecution Is Dismissed

In Armstrong v. Kilmartin, (D RI, May 17, 2017), a Rhode Island federal district court dismissed a suit to enjoin a state court criminal prosecution against clergy of the "Healing Church" which uses cannabis in its rituals. Plaintiffs say they are trying to protect a religious cannabis garden from law enforcement officials.  The suit claimed that the state and state officials engaged in religious discrimination and infringed free exercise rights of church leaders. The court dismissed this part of the lawsuit under the Younger abstention doctrine.  The court also refused to exercise ancillary jurisdiction to decide a separate claim against a religious leader over the ownership of a religious painting.