At ‘pot churches,’ marijuana is the sacrament
“Legalization changes everything,” Laycock said. “Religious use may not violate state law in some of these states. And if it does, legalizing recreational use but not religious use clearly discriminates against religion.”
As more states ease access to marijuana, churches that offer pot as a sacrament are proliferating, competing with medical marijuana dispensaries and pot shops in the few states that have legalized recreational weed. Courts have thus far rejected religious groups’ right to use marijuana, still illegal at the federal level, said Douglas Laycock, a University of Virginia Law School professor specializing in religious liberty issues. Yet, he said, as more states legalize marijuana, courts may regard marijuana churches’ rights more favorably.