Wednesday, April 3, 2019
The last of four exciting presentations planned this week for my Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform seminar concerns the intersection of marijuana use and religion claims. Here is how my student describes her project along with her selected background reading:
Since its founding, religious freedom has remained a core value of the United States. Recently, small groups of individuals have tried to apply this core value to the use of cannabis, specifically with establishing “cannabis churches.” These churches offer congregants a space to come together as a community and consume cannabis as a way to experience a new level of spirituality. Cannabis churches have popped up in both states where recreational consumption is legal (in Colorado, for example) and in states where recreational consumption is illegal (Indiana).
In Colorado, the founders of the International Church of Cannabis have been charged with public consumption. In Indiana, the founder of the First Church of Cannabis asserts that his church is protected under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As more cannabis churches are established in other states, the main question that church founders will need to answer is whether the use of cannabis is a sincerely held religious belief deserving of protection.