What Does the Church of Cannabis Have to Do with Wisconsin's Marijuana Laws - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

The First Church of Cannabis – yes, it’s a real thing – is trying to legalize marijuana in the state of Indiana, and they’re citing religious liberty as the reason.

Members of the church, founded in March 2015, identify as Cannaterians. They’re citing Indiana’s Religious Freedom and Restoration Act and falling back on U.S. Code that says:

(a) In general

Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.

(b) Exception

Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—

(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and

(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

So how does this all factor into Wisconsin?

We could be next in line to see these types of battles.

What Are Wisconsin’s Marijuana Laws?

In Wisconsin, cannabidiol is legal… but that’s not marijuana. It’s a drug made from cannabis, and it’s designed to treat seizure disorders.

The Wisconsin Legislature has seen bills that would legalize the use of medical marijuana before, and nearly half of all states and the District of Columbia do make concessions for medicinal use.

Governor Scott Walker strongly opposes the bill. His spokesperson, Laurel Patrick, said, “This is a gateway drug and Governor Walker has also heard from law enforcement professionals who have significant concerns about the impact of legalizing this drug.”

Proponents of legal medical marijuana, including Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison), said the opposite.

““I know legalizing marijuana isn’t going to be the cure-all for all of our state’s problems overnight. I believe it will enhance personal freedom, create financial opportunities and lead to safer communities,” said Sargent.

What Do You Think?

Could a First Church of Cannabis or similar organization cite the RFRA to further the cause of legalizing medicinal marijuana in Wisconsin, or does the legalization of cannabidiol make their argument null and void? I’d love to hear what you think, so share your opinion with the world on my Facebook page.

Carlos Gamino