AG Curtis Hill: Latest court ruling is buzzkill for ‘First Church of Cannabis’


The end of 2018 brought bad news for the “First Church of Cannabis,” a group of marijuana enthusiasts who have spent much of the past three years arguing for the right to use pot as a matter of religious liberty.

Once again, Attorney General Curtis Hill has prevailed in turning back this group’s efforts to be exempted from Indiana’s anti-marijuana statutes.

On Friday Dec. 28, the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissed with prejudice the appeal of this “church,” explaining that the appellants failed to pay a transcript fee as ordered by the court. Further, the court stated, “Appellants have failed to show cause why this appeal should not be dismissed.”

Last year, these same marijuana enthusiasts failed to convince a Marion County court that they should be exempted from anti-marijuana statutes on the basis of religious freedom. They later failed to convince the court to reopen their case in light of the Right to Try Act, a recently-passed law that allows terminally ill patients to try investigational treatments.

Following this latest rejection by the Indiana Court of Appeals, the First Church of Cannabis could find itself with few remaining options.

“Laws against the possession, sale and use of marijuana are designed to protect the health, safety and well-being of Hoosiers statewide,” Attorney General Hill said. “Our courts have repeatedly upheld their validity. The devout worshippers of the First Church of Cannabis may find more fertile ground in another state to legally consume their favorite sacrament, but they won’t be lighting up in Indiana.”




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