This is a Guide for medical cannabis ministers and medical marijuana ministers.
This Guide outlines some of the topics you may need to prepare for in order to have a successful legal defense in both federal (U.S.) and state (California) court for working as a medical marijuana minister or medical cannabis minister in a California medical cannabis collective, dispensary, or cooperative.
Exact material will vary greatly by religion. I provide examples from my own religion, although many of the examples may not apply to your religion. You will want to prepare your own defense, probably with the help of a lawyer skilled in first amendment and criminal law.
The basic religious defense is that the law in question either (1) is clearly biased against or for a particular religion or religions and therefore against the first amendment (applied by the 14th amendment to the states) and the California state constitution or (2) is law of general applicability that places a burden on a sincerely held religious belief and therefore against the RFRA (federal) and the RLUIPA (federal and state).
The RFRA is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The RLUIPA is the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
The Ayahuasca case, February 21, 2006, Gonzales v. Centro Espirita Beneficente União do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), affirms that the RFRA applies to religious use of a Schedule I drug that is banned by federal law.
The RFRA is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The RFRA first requires that the defendant prove through a preponderance of evidence that an otherwise neutral law of general applicability places a substantial burden on a sincerely held religious belief that an act is required by the religion.
The government must then show that it has a compelling interest in criminalizing the religious act for the specific instance. It is not enough that the government merely claim that the act is dangerous. It must prove it is dangerous.
Then the government must prove that it has applied the least restrictive method possible for meeting the governments compelling interest.
In the February 21, 2006 case of Gonzales v. Centro Espirita Beneficente União do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), Chief Justice C.J. Roberts writing for the 8-0 majority (Alito didnt participate because he didnt hear the case) claimed regarding the religious use of DMT-containing tea:
- The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the controlling law for this matter.
- The Government must prove that it has a compelling interest in criminalizing the religious use of this tea for this specific instance.
- Just because the Government says that a drug is dangerous in legislation (DMT is Schedule I) does not relieve the government of its obligation to show that it is dangerous in this specific case.
- The Government bears the burden of showing actual harm and the evidence the Government presented about actual harm caused by using DMT-containing tea did not meet its standard.
- The government failed to provide a clear compelling interest which would override the default assumption of religious freedom as spelled out in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
- The Supreme Court never even got to considering whether the ban on the tea was the least restrictive means available to meet the governmental interest because the Government failed to show a compelling interest in the first place.
Being arrested pretty much automatically constitutes a substantial burden.
The government can question the sincerity of beliefs.
The three basic tests to qualify for protection under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) are: (1) the government burdens a (2) sincerely held (3) religious belief.
While the government seems to normally challenge whether or not your beliefs are religious, they can also challenge the sincerity of your beliefs. There is a Supreme Court case (I will add the citation later) involving two different people challenging (under completely different laws, not the RFRA) Floridas requirement to vaccinate their children. The Supreme Court protected one family because the court decided their religious beliefs were sincere and rejected the other familys protection because the court decided that their religious beliefs were clearly faked.
You have to sincerely believe that the divine has called you to be a medical marijuana minister or medical cannabis minister.
You cant fake this to try to pull something over on the government.
Your religious beliefs have to be sincere and real.
This blog is about how to be a medical marijuana minister or medical cannabis minister. Anyone with sincere religious beliefs that their religion requires them to minister to and help those who need medical marijuana can become a medical marijuana minister or medical cannabis minister.
I am emphasizing that your religious beliefs must be sincere and real.
I have already pointed out several easy ways to get written documentation (including my own religion [external link], Universal Life Church [external link], and The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry (THC Ministry) [external link]).
I can help you learn the details of being a minister. Come back and read this web page daily.
And let me again emphasize that I am offering free in-person lessons that can apply to any religion.
Free in-person medical cannabis minister lessons offered Monday nights near the border of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, California. Send a self addressed stamped envelope to Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, California, USA, 92781 if you plan to attend (I dont show up if I dont expect any students; I will reply to your letter with the exact time and location). I check the post office box once a month (late in the month). I checked the mail for the end of June 2010.
The government can question whether or not the beliefs are religious (non-religious beliefs dont have this protection).
The government is not supposed to be able to question the validity of beliefs, just whether or not they are religious.
The two most common tests for being a legally valid religion are the Meyers Test and the IRS test, both of which are highly biased in favor of Roman Catholic beliefs.
The California state Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) has already ruled that my religion is a legally valid religious creed subject to state protection, although this ruling may or may not have applicability for a criminal prosecution.
There are numerous specific court cases that address the question of what constitutes a legally valid religion or religious creed. These court cases give specific standards (or tests) based on the Roman Catholic Church.
Currently there is a six judge majority of the U.S. Supreme Court who are active members of the Roman Catholic Church (John Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor).
In theory, no court should question the validity of any religious beliefs.
In reality, I assume that facing a hostile judge I must prove through preponderance of evidence that my religion is substantially, qualitatively, and quantifiably more legally valid than the officially established Roman Catholic Church of the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. District Chief Judge Vaugh R. Walker struck down Proposition 8 using two standards of the law.
One standard Judge Walker used was that the law was based on so many unfounded claims that there was no rational basis for the law. This could be used against the federal law placing cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Francis Young, a DEA administrative law judge, ruled in 1988 that cannabis had no known danger (Docket # 86-22).
The other standard that Judge Walker used to strike down Poposition 8 was strict scrutiny.
Strict scrutiny is a test in discrimination cases holding laws to a higher standard when they adversely affect certain minority groups.
To meet strict scrutiny a law must be justified by a compelling government interest and must be narrowly tailored to meet that interest.
The tests for whether a minority is within a suspect classification are: (1) been historically targeted by discrimination; (2) a discrete and insular community; (3) be a minority for an unchangeable characteristic; and (4) lack the power to protect themselves using the political process. A qualifying group does not have to meet all four standards and other factors may be considered.
This obviously doesnt apply to Christian medical marijuana ministers, but it certainly applies to Pagan and Witch medical marijuana ministers (including my own religion).
- religious beliefs
- religious requirements
- Meyers Test
- IRS rules
- age of belief
- divinity or supreme being
- ultimate ideas
- comprehensive belief system
- metaphysical beliefs
- moral or ethical system
- external signs
- accoutrements of religion
- founder, prophet, or teacher
- important writings
- Rastafari Bible verses
- gathering places
- keepers of knowledge
- sesh per anhk
- ceremonies and rituals
- marriage and weddings
- structure or organization
- holy days
- diet or fasting
- distinct and separate
- strict scrutiny
- blood libel
- time line
- illegal bias
- what is religion?
- false claims
- bad weather
- agricultural failure
- crop failure
- milk cows going dry
- hens not laying chicken eggs
- Goddess of cannabis
- the law
- Exodus 22:18
- other verses
- Witch of Endor
- Edict of 1484
- Malleus Maleficarum
- Martin Luther
- separation of Church and State
- Controlled Substance Act (CSA)
- the borders and Customs
- fabricated evidence
- Elizabeth Bathory
- death penalty
- hanged, drawn and quartered
- burning stakes
- burning in Hell
- sealed records
- Young Life Campaign v. Patino (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d 559, 561
- Sherbert 374 U.S. 398, 83 S.Ct. 1790, 10 L.Ed.2d 965
- Wisconsin v. Yoder 406 U.S. 205, 92 S.Ct. 1526, 32 L.Ed.2d 15 (1972)
- Friedman v. Southern California Permanente Medical
- Malnak v. Yogi
- Meyers November 5, 1996, 95 F.3d 1475
Courts have upheld the right of Native Americans to use the hallucinogenic plant peyote in religious rituals, e.g., State v. Whittington, 19 Ariz. App. 27, 504 P.2d 950 (1973), cert. denied, 417 U.S. 946, 94 S.Ct. 3071 (1974); People v. Woody, 61 Cal.2d 716, 394 P.2d 813, 40 Cal. Rptr. 69 (1964); Whitehorn v. State, 561 P.2d 539 (0kl. Crim. App. 1977); contra State v. Big Sheep, 75 Mont. 219, 243 P. 1067 (1926); State v. Soto, 21 Or. App. 794, 537 P.2d 142 (1975), cert. denied, 424 U.S. 955, 96 S.Ct. 1431 (1976).
|worker summary||owner summary||todays topic|
- September 5, 2010: Hunger
- special topic: multiple religions
- August 11, 2010: Strict Scrutiny
- August 8, 2010: Proposition 8
- August 7, 2010: Copyright
- August 6, 2010: Fasting
- August 5, 2010: Prohibition
- August 4, 2010: Prayer
- August 3, 2010: Herodotus
- August 2, 2010: Customer
- August 1, 2010: Music
- July 31, 2010: Altars
- July 30, 2010: Sacred Space
- July 29, 2010: Sacred Writings
- July 28, 2010: After Life
- July 27, 2010: Creation
- July 26, 2010: Creativity
- July 25, 2010: Lunar Cycles
- July 24, 2010: Incense
- July 23, 2010: Family
- July 22, 2010: Nutrition
- July 21, 2010: Lesbian Marriage
- July 20, 2010: Comprehensiveness
- July 19, 2010: Calling
- July 18, 2010: Four Kinds of Divine
- July 17, 2010: Proposition 19
- July 16, 2010: Meyers test
- July 15, 2010: Dad
- July 14, 2010: Roger Christie
- July 13, 2010: Arrest
- July 12, 2010: Invocation
- July 11, 2010: Knowledge
- July 10, 2010: Hard Work
- July 9, 2010: Blessings
- July 8, 2010: Donations
- July 7, 2010: Chronic Pain
- July 6, 2010: Body Control
- July 5, 2010: Divine Calling
- July 4, 2010: Independence Day
- July 3, 2010: Standard of Care
- July 2, 2010: Death Alone
- July 1, 2010: Dealing With Death
- June 30, 2010: Work Place
- June 29, 2010: Sincerity
- June 20, 2010: Lawyers
- June 19, 2010: Shabbos House Ruling
- June 18, 2010: Confidentiality
- June 17, 2010: Support Group
- June 16, 2010: Marriage
- June 15, 2010: Documentation
- June 14, 2010: Science
- special topic: multiple religions
- June 13, 2010: Listening
- June 12, 2010: Diet
- June 11, 2010: Clothing
- June 10, 2010: Circumambulate
- June 9, 2010: Smile
- worker summary
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- Archive of Previous Daily Topics