As Cannabis Becomes Legal in Colorado and Washington, Hawaiian Minister Remains Locked Up
HONOLULU, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following release was issued today by Mintwood Media Collective:
As more Americans demand legalization of cannabis, thousands of prisoners are still locked up on non-violent marijuana charges, including Reverend Roger Christie. Since July 8, 2010 Rev. Christie has been behind bars without bail awaiting trial on charges of marijuana possession and trafficking, despite being a Christian minister with a state sanctioned license as a “Cannabis Sacrament Minister.”
Rev. Christie’s case is unique because his use of ‘marijuana’ was for religious purposes and from his perspective should be protected under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Because cannabis has an ancient history of ritual usage in many religions and cultures including Christianity, Christie has decided not to plea his way out of jail. His perspective is couched in a religious context of medicinal cannabis as a tool in healing the sick which to deny anyone is counter to morality. Rev. Christie also connects cannabis sacrament to the ancient anointings and burnt offerings referenced in the bible.
This Christmas is Rev. Christie’s third behind bars at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. Despite seven attempts at bail, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi has denied Christie’s request to be released to his home in Hilo or to a halfway house in Kalihi.
Tommy Otake, Rev. Christie’s attorney, said his client was at first disappointed by the ruling, but then decided to remain positive and take the most recent bail denial as a “blessing.” Rev. Christie is committed to the Christian faith and to religious freedom for all. He is continuing to minister while in prison and is using his time as an opportunity to help other inmates.