Friday, September 11, 2009

State High Court Denies Religious Freedom In Arizona

Though religious freedom is guaranteed in the constitution, in Arizona, if you use the plant known in religious circles as "Heaven's Gate", hemp, "there is no constitutional right to use marijuana."  Danny Ray Hardesty and his wife have a church that uses hemp as a prayer tool, like the Catholic church uses the rosary & wine. The Jewish religion also uses wine as part of their prayer service.  Both were able to do so even through the prohibition of alcohol on religious grounds.  

"At an evidentiary hearing regarding the religious use defense, Hardesty presented evidence that marijuana is the main religious sacrament of the Church of Cognizance" the court decision explains.  Yet, they lost Hardesty's appeal of a hemp charge based on religious freedom.

Once again the will of the government is more important than the will of the people. 

From the court decision on  freedom in Arizona to pray


Although religious exercise may provide a valid defense under A.R.S. § 41-1493.01, in the circumstances of this case, Hardesty’s defense fails as a matter of law. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and vacate the opinion of the court of appeals.

Rebecca White Berch, Chief Justice


Andrew D. Hurwitz, Vice Chief Justice

Because Hardesty is asserting a FERA defense to criminal charges, the issue is whether a less restrictive statute or regulation would have excused the conduct for which he was convicted. For example, apart from the specific statutory exemption under A.R.S. § 13-3402(B), a member of the Native American Church charged with possession of peyote might be able to assert that a less restrictive governmental regulation than a total ban would serve the government’s interest. The analysis would be different, however, if the charged criminal use occurred while the defendant was driving a school bus.

Hardesty was convicted of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He made no argument concerning the drug paraphernalia charge, apparently tying his conviction on that charge to his religious use defense on the possession charge. Because Hardesty’s religious use defense fails, we affirm the conviction on the paraphernalia charge as well as the possession charge.

Michael D. Ryan, Justice
W. Scott Bales, Justice
Ruth V. McGregor, Justice (Retired)"

That can't be right, but it is.

"The unanimous decision in Arizona v. Hardesty rejected Danny Ray Hardesty's argument that he was entitled to employ the same defense allowed for peyote use in Native American sacramental rites." reported the AP.   He argued that the free exercise clauses of the Arizona and Federal Constitutions, Arizona’s Free Exercise of Religion Act(“FERA”), and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 protected him.

What is compelling the government to deny interaction with a non-toxic hemp plant?  Could it be greed, control, or just plain evil that is causing the government to take this stand between the Lord and His creations?

Presidents Jefferson and Washington grew hemp.  Why would they have in their intention making their plantations illegal?  How would that work? George Washington said "MAKE THE MOST OF THE HEMP SEED, SOW IT EVERYWHERE."  In modern times based on current law, Presidents Washington and Jefferson are criminals rather than founding fathers.

So let us get this straight because almost eleven years ago the people of Arizona, following California's Prop. 215 lead in 1996, voted hemp legal.  

There is no such thing as the freedom to pray in Arizona other than in ways prescribed by the court.  We can only address the Lord as the government sees fit. 

So much for separation of church and state.

For more on how hemp is used in prayer and religion, visit the USA Hemp Museum .  

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