Dear Becket Fund People,
Aloha. I hope this finds you in top-shape and high-spirits.
This is Roger Christie founder of The Hawai’i Cannabis (THC) Ministry writing to you from the federal halfway house in Honolulu. I recently finished my mandatory minimum prison sentence of 60 months for operating our Ministry openly and honestly for almost ten very happy years. I had the express approval of former U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo and Hilo’s D.E.A. Agent Jesse Fourmey, among others, to operate our Ministry. My wife Share and I are appealing four motions to the Ninth Circuit Court, briefs due on October 30th. I’m reaching-out to you for possible interest and legal help.
See Case: 14-10234
In the Smith case that led to R.F.R.A. back in 1993, religious leaders around the USA were compassionate and open-minded enough to see the value in supporting sacramental use of peyote for the two native Americans involved. The religious leaders were not interested in using peyote themselves, but they saw the value in supporting the right of sincere practitioners to do so. There might be a similar precedent possibility with our appeals dealing with Cannabis.
Cannabis has been ruled by former D.E.A. Administrative Law Judge Francis Young to be among “the safest therapeutically-active substances known to man, far safer than most foods we commonly consume”. That’s a fact.
Does the federal government have a “compelling interest” in preventing small amounts of Cannabis sacrament to be distributed to our THC Ministry members? We say NO.
My wife Share and I have been ruled to be “sincere” and “legitimate” by U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi in 2013. She also ruled that “the government substantially burdened our legitimate religious practices”. Then she ruled that the government had a “compelling interest” and used “the least restrictive means” in arresting us and closing our THC Ministry. We were denied a religious defense and a R.F.R.A. defense and made “conditional” pleas of guilty.
Our THC Ministry is unique (I think) in that in 2004 we pioneered the revival of making and using the holy anointing oil of Moses for prayer and (literally) anointing our members with oil according to the sacred recipe of Exodus 30:23.
We’ve come to know the translation of Christ is “anointed”. We’ve also come to know the translation of Messiah is “anointed”. We think it’s a literal thing – to ‘anoint the head with oil’ to awaken the crown chakra with the anandamide and the cannabinoids now scientifically proven to be contained in Cannabis in combination with the sacred mixture of other ingredients. God did good.
Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience. Thank you for all that you do for “the first freedom”.