The religious freedom law isn’t going to suffice for the First Church of Cannabis in Indiana. The church was attempting to use that law as their method of defense to fight for using marijuana during religious services, but Marion County Superior Court ruled against the church.
The church claimed exemption from state and federal laws regarding marijuana use, ABC 15 News reports. Judge Sheryl Lynch included that her reason for her decision was that the church would become a target for crime, such as gangs, drug dealers and thieves. She said it would also make it difficult for local police to properly enforce the existing drug laws.
Lynch said, “Permitting exceptions to Indiana’s laws prohibiting the sale, possession and use of marijuana for religious exercise would undermine Indiana’s ability to enforce anti-marijuana laws at all; anyone charged with violating those laws could simply invoke “religious” exemption, triggering time-consuming (if not practically impossible) efforts to sort legitimate from illegitimate uses.”
The court battle has been ongoing since July 2015. The church opened on the same day that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act went into effect. The church said its members were “cannataerians” seeking “love, understanding and good health.”
Founder of the church, Bill Levin, said, “God loves us and we’re going to celebrate God. We spark up and we light up and we all pray to happiness, compassion and love and we all dance in the seats and we have a good time and the band will play and everybody will feel beautiful.”
It hasn’t been said whether or not an appeal will be filed yet.