Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Free Exercise Claim As To Marijuana Use Is Rejected

In State of Ohio v. Cook, (OH App., Feb. 10, 2020), an Ohio state appellate court rejected a defendant's claim that his use of marijuana-- which he claimed was part of his Shamanism religion-- violated his free exercise rights. The court said in part:
Even assuming that Cook’s “religious” beliefs are sincerely held, and even assuming that the law restricts his practice, there is certainly a compelling state interest in regulating the use of Schedule I controlled substances. Moreover, the drug laws are facially religion-neutral, and do not target any specific sect of any religion. Thus we find that they are narrowly tailored.... For these reasons we cannot find that the trial court erred in overruling Cook’s suppression motions.