Church of Cannabis sues Indiana for restricting its religious liberty

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I believe the appropriate expression here is “Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.”

Sure must be nice to have money to throw away on a frivolous lawsuit like this.

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It’s a better case than Hobby Lobby.


I read the full IndyStar article, and this certainly raises a lot of interesting legal questions.

  1. Should the government decide what is and what is not a “legitimate” religion? They do now for taxation purposes, and they decreed the North American Church legit enough to use peyote. But seriously, I’m not too keen on the government having that role at all.
  2. I’m sure most BB readers have zero problem with the Church of Cannabis. But what about the Church of Heroin & Meth? The Church of Firing Automatic Rifles in the Air? Certainly we can all agree that the government should suppress, say, a religion practicing human sacrifice or slavery. But where do we draw the line?

Where do I stand? I say the government should get the hell out of the religion business, and stick to protecting the public peace. So, churches should be taxed, but get big tax breaks on their charitable work. That would resolve a lot of these quandaries, and free up churches to promote political candidates. (a law many churches brazenly flaunt anyway).

Taxing churches is a serious discussion we Americans need to start having. This is a related issue to this Church of Cannabis business because it goes back to the government’s job of saying what’s a religion and what’s not.

Or the good people of Indiana can do things the hard and traditional way, and just legalize the damn thing like the good people of four other states already have. The Church of Cannabis would just illicit a shrug and smirk here in Washington state. If these guys are so hell-bent on making cannabis a religious sacrament, why don’t they pack their bags Mormon-style and move to one of these more pot-friendly states? Methinks this is just a court end-run to legalize marijuana, which I guess is fine, but as with most things religious, it just makes me roll my eyes.


Do they have a joint picnic, 'cause I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson for a day.

Edit: a bit of a stretch (given @Baron_Groznik’s reasonableness), but have been itching to use one of these…: Faulty Logic Illustrations - dizzy - Boing Boing BBS

more of slippery slope


Personally, I’d rather be a member in The Church of Firing Automatic Rifles and Handguns Downrange. That other church just seems dangerous!

More seriously, and since I don’t actually know, isn’t the test for how far your freedoms extend supposed to be something like “your freedoms extend up until the point they get in the way of someone else’s freedoms”? or something like that?

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I’d say that the good Mr. Locke, in his Letters Concerning Toleration, laid out about the best theoretical groundwork available:

‘Religious Liberty’ cannot override a compelling secular interest in governing, especially if it would involve curtailing other’s liberty; but should a law be passed that interferes with the free exercise of religion, it had better have suitably compelling justfication; because if its intended target is that religion, we have a problem.

It’s a subjective test, alas; but objective tests are unlikely to be available. I’d say that this case is clouded by the fact that, “C’mon, man, drugs are, like, my religion” is a worthless argument; but the arguments in favor of Prohibition 2.0 are even worse.

The ‘reasons’ behind prohibiting the mexican loco-weed aren’t good enough to justify curtailing religious freedoms; but that’s because they aren’t good enough to justify much of anything; not because of some specially high standard for alleged ‘sacraments’. Were there some actual justification at play(as with, say, the vaccine exemption controversy), the question of whether it’s a religion or just a hobby would be irrelevant, there would be a duly compelling interest in doing it anyway. In the case of marijuana, assassin of youth, there just isn’t any interest, much less a compelling one, so the ‘religion’ just muddies the water.

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As a Tantrika, cannabis has been a sacrament in my religion for thousands of years. The US puts people in a foolish position. I cannot “prove” that it has been such a recognized sacrament because the religion has no formal governing body to attest to it. And since I don’t know any others around here, I cannot “prove” I am a Tantrika. Yet nobody seems to be able to explain how/why such proof is relevant. What good is my having some abstract “freedom of religion” if only a few groups have theirs recognized?

If I complained that I was a Christian, I doubt they would ask me to prove anything. Nor would they insist that I profess to Christianity because I am looking for free wine.


those are awesome memes.

That’s where all this goes off the rails. If I have a belief based in faith then what, exactly, am I to provide as proof? And --who has any business telling me I’m wrong?

Freedom is another of those pesky things loosed from Pandora’s Box. Witness the dawning horror of the establishment when the realization of what real freedom is, hits. “Oh, no!” they cry. That is not what we meant.


Actually, I don’t even believe in much of anything! I think that’s very much a western thing. The rest of the world doesn’t seem to hung up on faith. To me, it’s more of a discipline.

Courts seem to get bent out of shape about this stuff. I could bring expert testimony in the form of Indian scholars and such who could spend all day demonstrating how Shaivist Yogis and others have used cannabis over the centuries, and yet have a judge waffle that he wasn’t comfortable in agreeing, despite having no evidence to the contrary. The way it works, the demarcation between legitimate and illegitimate use tends to be racial/ethnic.

Ha! Not the establishment, merely an establishment.

Oh, it’s an absolutely frivolous lawsuit. Of course if the people of the state of Indiana wants to waste money on it, I guess that’s really up to them.


You’d have to ask Hobby Lobby how frivolous religious freedom is.


@timquinn has the link here:

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Thank you sir!

As for the law, I’m surprised the ‘Christians’ haven’t come out and said the law wasn’t designed for situations like that.

“But marijuana, Conkle said, is a different situation because of the potential for recreational users to try to exploit the religious angle.” Because NO ONE EVER used peyote as a recreational drug. I won’t say that about the Yage reference. There’s really nothing recreational about that.

…couldn’t they sue the assholes that make trouble to the Colorado pot businesses?

This Conkle is an idiot anyway? Conkle thinks Conkle can or should be able to determine the difference between people who want to believe a fantasy and people who do?

Conkle hasn’t got a point to prove there, but don’t tell Conkle that!

It’s a bit odd that supposed liberals seem to be skeptical of this.

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