Marijuana is part of its religion, says California church[es] fighting to stay open
…The church and about 15 others like it [filed] a claim against the city seeking $1.2 million in damages and alleging harassment and discrimination. Church leaders say they smoke marijuana or eat edibles as part of spiritual meditation as a religious sacrament, but city officials say they’re using religion as a front for selling pot.
Church officials say the battle is essentially a case of religious persecution through municipal zoning laws, that violate the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. Brent Fraser, a founder of the The Association of Sacramental Ministeries of which the Vault Church of Open Faith belongs, said city officials are singling out the Jurupa Valley fellowship because it uses marijuana as a sacrament in meditative and other religious exercises. And it’s not fair, Fraser said. “We don’t ever question when they serve wine to minors at Catholic churches,” he said. “No one’s trying to shut them down. That doesn’t happen to the Catholic Church because that is their sacrament.” Fraser said cannabis has historically been used by other religions for many years, and it’s a genuine expression of the Jurupa Valley church’s faith. “It’s not a trick or anything like that,” Fraser said. “What law enforcement tends to do is think that everyone is faking it so that they can get stoned. That’s just not true. “These are not dispensaries. They are spiritual centers. They are healing centers.”
From the Article (Mercury News):
Marijuana is part of its religion, says California church fighting to stay open
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