"Pot Minister" back in court after THC ministry declared a religion

Published  12:56 PM HST Aug 28, 2013
Roger Christie
HONOLULU -

The self-proclaimed marijuana minister Roger Christie and his wife were back in federal court Tuesday morning.

The hearing was held to determine if the federal government had met its burden in showing they have an interest in prosecuting the Christies.  

Earlier this month, Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled Christie's THC Ministry in Hilo is a legitimate religion, and the couple does have a sincere belief in it.

"They've (the Christies) always said that it was a legitimate religion," said Thomas Otake, the defense attorney representing Roger Christie. "A federal court judge has now ruled it was a legitimate religion, and that's a very positive step in their minds. So we're halfway there."
 
The couple's attorney believes they are being unfairly targeted, and will ask for the case to be dismissed on religious grounds.      

"They're very upbeat," Otake commented. "You know they're waited for this day a long time."

Roger Christie has been held in federal prison without bail for more than three years now.

He faces up to 40 years in prison for the possession and distribution of marijuana.

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