The illicit marijuana market is the bane of every legal operator’s existence. Illegal dispensaries outnumber lawful ones 3-1 throughout California, and state officials have committed themselves to cracking down hard on unlicensed operators. But what happens when its faith – not funding – that drives these operations?
The idea of cannabis as a religious sacrament isn’t new. Numerous religions – historically and presently – have used cannabis as an entheogen to induce a spiritual experience. Courts, however, haven’t always been so kind.
Last year in Indiana, for example, a judge ruled that a local First Church of Cannabis would not be legally allowed to use marijuana as a religious sacrament, finding it would be impossible to battle illicit drug trade “while allowing a religious exception that would be ripe for abuse.”
But in Indiana, unlike in California, possession of non-medicinal marijuana is still illegal. But as our Los Angeles cannabis church lawyers know, that doesn’t mean cannabis churches here are exactly safe – especially if they’re operating without licensed approval from the state. Continue reading