Ninth Circuit Revives Lawsuit over Religious Marijuana Use
A federal appeals court revived a lawsuit by a Native American religious group seeking an exemption from federal law so its members can use marijuana without fear of prosecution.
In 2009, federal law enforcement officers in Hawaii seized from FedEx one pound of marijuana — worth about $7,000 — that was addressed to a member of the Oklevueha Native American Church. Police later destroyed it.
Michael Rex “Raging Bear” Mooney, the intended recipient, sued the heads of the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration, seeking to bar the government from enforcing a federal anti-drug law against the church. Mooney, the founder of the 250-member church, argued that his flock’s marijuana use is protected by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act