September 5, 2011
Drug dealer doesn’t get court approval for religious use of marijuana
As we learned in the story of Craig X. Rubin and Temple 420, the state of California just doesn’t buy the marijuana-as-religious-sacrament argument. See People v. Rubin. Not surprisingly, it appears the federal government doesn’t either.
At least not under the terms that arose in United States v. Lafley.
In Lafley, the Ninth Circuit held that a “federal district court did not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act when it imposed as a condition of supervised release the requirement that a convicted methamphetamine dealer not possess or use controlled substances, including marijuana.” That according to Howard Friedman.
The problem for Lafley, who appealed the condition, was that this order would prevent him from worshipping freely as a member of the Montana Cannabis Ministry, an organization that has had its own share of legal troubles. More from the court’s opinion:
The district court had not reached the question of whether Lafley’s religion was sincere and under the protection of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, finding that regardless the burden on the government would be too high. But the court did have this to say: “with . . . all due respect . . . it doesn’t sound like a religion to me, it sounds
You can read the full opinion here. The Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court ruling. In short, Friedman says that the court “rejected as imposing too burdensome a monitoring requirement on probation officers defendant’s claim that he should be allowed religious, but not recreational, use of marijuana.”