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Marijuana minister and wife sentencedUPDATED 6:53 PM HST Apr 28, 2014Video Transcript
he'll do more time in PRISON... Hawaii's marijuana minister and his wife have just been sentenced on drug charges... KITV4's Andrew Pereira shows us what happened when drugs, religion and the law collided on the Big Island. 29 49 107 It's been 3 years, 9 months and 21 days since Roger Christie was taken into federal custody. After a plea deal in September, both Roger and his wife Share Christie looked forward to being reunited. Today, federal Judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced Roger Christie to five years in prison for his role in the Big Island's THC Ministry, what prosecutors called a front for marijuana sales. But because of time served and good behavior, the leader of the ministry may soon emerge from behind bars. THOMAS OTAKE: "ON THE GOOD SIDE WE EXPECT ROGER CHRISTIE WILL BE RELEASED REAL SOON, HOPEFULLY IN THE NEXT MONTH OR TWO." But on the bad side, Share Christie was sentenced to 27 months in jail after prosecutors say she took charge of the ministry's marijuana distribution. MICHAEL KAWAHARA: "I THINK IT WAS CLEAR FROM THE RECORDED CALLS WHERE SHE WAS INSTRUCTING OTHERS NO PRICE LISTS, NO WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION THAT WOULD SHOW THAT THE DONATION SCHEME IS A FRAUD." Share Christie's attorney said her client will appeal the court's decision based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which says a law cannot substantially burden a person's free exercise of their religion. LYNN PANAGAKOS: "WHETHER THE COURT ERRED BY FINDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAD A COMPELLING INTEREST IN PROSECUTING THIS CASE." With marijuana laws becoming increasingly liberal, the irony of the federal jail sentences is not lost on the Christies or their attorneys. THOMAS OTAKE: "WHAT YOU HAVE IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNEMENT SENTENCING REV. CHRISTIE TO FIVE YEARS IN JAIL FOR MARIJUANA WHEN 19 STATES HAVE APPROVED IT FOR MEDICAL USE, WHEN TWO STATES HAVE APPROVED IT FOR RECREATIONAL USE." Andrew Pereira, KITV4 News. Share Christie must begin serving her jail sentence 45 days after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issues a decision in her case. Both of the Christies are allowed to resume THC Ministry activities while on supervised release, with the exception that neither will be allowed to possess or use marijuana.