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 the New York federal district court Wexler case (which the anti-immunization movement named for the original trial judge) involving two different people challenging (under completely different laws, not the RFRA) New Yorks requirement to vaccinate their children. The federal 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. [The text of the decision regarding sincerity is quoted below.]
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 page 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.
There are 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 the daily topics.
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).
Sincerity analysis seeks to determine the subjective good faith of an adherent The goal, of course, is to protect only those beliefs which are held as a matter of conscience. Human nature being what it is, however, it is frequently difficult to separate this inquiry from a forbidden one involving the verity of the underlying belief. Barber
While the truth of a belief is not open to question, there remains the significant question whether it is truly held. This is the threshold question of sincerity which must be resolved in every case. It is, of course, a question of fact Seeger
The U.S. Supreme Court requires that you must have a sincerely held religious belief. Milo, author of CannabisClergy.com, offers free information on ancient and modern practices so that you can learn and be prepared to defend your belief.
The legal standard in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is that religious beliefs must be sincerely held.
In the 1990s a Los Angeles woman claimed a religious defense for prostitution. She claimed to be a priestess of Isis and claimed to be engaging in an ancient Egyptian religious practice where a priestess has sex as the Goddess rather than as a human. The jury was going along with her defense until the prosecutor asked a series of simple questions about Isis that the woman was completely unable to answer. This failure convinced the jury that her religious beliefs werent sincere.
You must be able to demonstrate in court that you understand your religious beliefs and that your religious beliefs are sincere. A major goal of this web site is to provide that detailed information for a wide variety of possible religious beliefs.
From the case decided by Judge Leonard D. Wexler, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, October 21, 1987, CV 87-3116 ALAN PAUL SHERR, etc., et al. against NORTHPORT-EAST NORTHPORT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al. and CV 87-3197 LOUIS LEVY, etc., et al. against NORTHPORT-EAST NORTHPORT UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al.
VII. SINCERITY OF PLAINTIFFS BELIEFS
In order for plaintiffs to be afforded the exemption from immunization that they seek, it is not sufficient merely that the beliefs that they assert as grounds for exemption be religious in nature. It must also be demonstrated that the espoused beliefs are sincerely held and that the stated beliefs, even if accurately reflecting plaintiffs ultimate conclusions about the advisability of inoculation of their children, do in fact stem from religious convictions and have not merely been framed in terms of religious belief so as to gain the legal remedy desired.7/
Attempts to ascertain the sincerity of claims of religious belief must be undertaken with extreme caution. The Second Circuit observed in Barber:
Sincerity analysis seeks to determine the subjective good faith of an adherent .... The goal, of course, is to protect only those beliefs which are held as a matter of conscience. Human nature being what it is, however, it is frequently difficult to separate this inquiry from a forbidden one involving the verity of the underlying belief.
650 F.2d at 441. Any form of governmental investigation into the objective truth of a persons religious beliefs, be it in a judicial form or otherwise, in essence puts the individual on trial for heresy. See United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, 64 S.Ct. 882 (1944). As the Supreme Court emphasized in Seeger, however:
While the truth of a belief is not open to question, there remains the significant question whether it is truly held. This is the threshold question of sincerity which must be resolved in every case. It is, of course, a question of fact ....
380 U.S. at 185, 85 S.Ct. at 863. See also, e.g., Africa, 662 F.2d 1025; Stevens, 428 F.Supp. 896; Riga, Religious, Sincerity, and Free Exercise, 25 Catholic Lawyer 246 (1980).
7/ The school district defendants have challenged the sincerity of plaintiffs assertions of religious beliefs that prohibit the vaccination of their children. Although counsel for the state defendants participated in cross-examination of Alan Paul Sherr and Louis Levy concerning the beliefs they and their families purportedly hold, the state defendants declare in the papers they filed subsequent to the taking of plaintiffs testimony that they do not now question the sincerity of plaintiffs avowed adherence to their respective systems of belief.
Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church
In 1980 several members of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church were arrested unloading 20 tons of marijuana from a boat off the coast of Maine. United States v. Rush [external link], 738 F.2d 497 (1st Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 471 U.S. 1120 (1985). The court found (1) that the Ethipian Zion Coptic Church is a religion embracing beliefs which are protected by the First AMendment, (2) that the use of cannabis is an integral part of the religious practice of the Church, and (3) that [all of the defendents] are members of the Church and sincerely embrace the beliefs of the Church. 738 F.2d at 512. [source: Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church: Fighting for our rights]
In 1984 the Supreme Court of Iowa found: Olsen is a member and priest of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church. Testimony at his trial revealed the bona fide nature of this religious organization and the use of marijuana within it. State of Iowa v. Carl Eric Olsen [external website], No. 171/69079 (Iowa 1984). [source: Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church: Fighting for our rights]