Native American Church Sues DEA over Sacramental Use of Cannabis — July 22, 2009 — Honolulu, Hawaii
The OKLEVUEHA NATIVE AMERICAN CHURCH OF HAWAII filed for an injunction in Federal Court that would allow its members to continue to use Cannabis as a ceremonial sacrament. The Plaintiffs are seeking an Order declaring their consumption, cultivation, possession and distribution of Cannabis to be free from federal penalty. Currently the Federal Government is prohibited from preventing members of The Oklevueha Native American Church from using the entheogenic cactus Peyote, and The Church is now seeking the same religious freedom for its members’ religious use of Cannabis.
Church President and named Plaintiff MICHAEL REX “RAGING BEAR” MOONEY is a Native American Spiritual Leader (commonly known as a Medicine Man). Mr. Mooney and The Church are suing ERIC H. HOLDER, JR. (Attorney General for the United States of America), MICHELE LEONHART (Acting Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration) and EDWARD H. KUBO, JR., (United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii). According to the Plaintiff’s attorney, Michael A. Glenn, “the federal government is required (by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act) to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise their religion, including the use and possession of sacred substances, and the freedom to worship through ceremonies and rites.”
Good luck with that. I support the religious use of cannabis, however, I support everyone’s use of cannabis and I don’t think you need to find it holy to have the right to use it.
In previous attempts to sue for this right, the courts have ruled that letting some Indians use obscure drugs like peyote or ayahuasca is OK, because allowing that exception does not substantially burden the government from enforcement of laws that prohibit peyote and ayahuasca for others, because so few people outside the religious users use those drugs. But they’ve also ruled that letting some Indians use the most popular drug, cannabis, is not OK, because allowing that exception would substantially burden the government from enforcement of laws that prohibit cannabis for others, because so many people outside the religious users use that drug.
Basically, that means if your holy sacrament is really popular for non-holy uses, you don’t get your First Amendment religious rights. It’s the government’s way of telling you your God was wrong about that plant, pick a less popular, much more psychotropic hallucinogenic one.