WW: First Church of Cannabis forms, and is medical weed doomed in Oregon?

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In Indiana, cannaterians, adherents of a new church, say they can smoke pot in the state because of a new religious freedom law.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news over the last week, you’ve probably heard about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Signed by Gov. Mike Pence, it’s meant to protect the rights of religious people and prevents state or local governments from doing anything that will “substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion.”

The law provoked almost immediate backlash, with Apple CEO Tim Cook denouncing it along with a slew of state and local governments banning travel to Indiana.

But for pot smokers in the state, there could be a silver lining to the law.

Shortly after becoming law, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz posted a piece on Indypolitics.org suggesting that it had the effect of legalizing marijauna — for religious reasons. Citing spiritual traditions such as Rastafarianism or the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church that treat cannabis as a sacrament, Shabazz suggested that a church could be set up in Indiana that incorporates smoking weed into its tenets, giving its adherents a fighting chance of partially legalizing marijuana in a state that doesn’t sanction its use for medicinal or recreational reasons.

“You see, if I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scott-free,” he wrote.

The Washington Post reports that Bill Levin has filed paperwork, which has been approved by the Indiana Secretary of State, to set up the First Church of Cannabis.

According to the church’s GoFundMe page, which describes its adherents as “cannaterians,” the first of its 12 commandments is “don’t be an asshole.”

In Oregon, Willamette Week has obtained a memo that suggests that state officials secretly planned to put the state’s medicinal marijuana market under its recreational despite promises that wouldn’t happen. Sound familiar? 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says that marijuana taxes are “blood money.”

Colorado’s attorney general says there will be “chaos” if a lawsuit from neighboring Oklahoma and Nebraska challenging its pot legalization law prevails.