Hollywood, CA – The preliminary hearing in the marijuana church case, People of the State of California vs. Temple 420, occurred April 9 in the courtroom of Justice Otto. There were several funny and dramatic moments throughout the day. A new prosecutor in the case argued that the Reverend Craig X Rubin’s affirmative defense of “religious freedom” under the Religious Freedom Restoration of Act of 1993 (signed into law by former President Bill Clinton) was not an appropriate defense in State Court because no federal actors were involved in the raid on the church property.
It looked as if the District Attorney was going to be successful in making that argument. All morning long when questioned, Officer Trayce Fields said no other agency was involved except the LAPD. She did admit under questioning that she had been trained by the DEA as part of her “narcotics” training for the LAPD, but she said, “No one from the Department of Justice (DOJ) or the DEA was at the raid on the temple.”
After lunch is when things got exciting. Officer Trayce Fields was the only witness to testify all day. She was the lead Officer on this case and it was she who requested and executed the search warrant. The Temple’s three co-defendants, Rubin, Sokoloff and Taloma, each had separate council. La’Chelle Woodert, council for Pastor Rubin, asked Officer Fields, “What other agencies were there at the raid on the Church?”
It had seemed as if this question had been asked four or five times before, but this time Officer Fields surprised the people sitting in the court when she testified in contradiction to her earlier testimony that the “FBI was present at the raid”, as well as “another agency”. She went on to testify that she couldn’t remember the name of the other agency present when the search warrant was executed.
The prosecution then said the DOJ wasn’t involved “in the planning of the raid, but were there only as armed ‘observers.'” Michael Levinson of Bruce Margolin’s office, acting as council for co-defendant Sokoloff, followed-up on that line of questioning with a humorous comment.
“You are telling us officer that the FBI didn’t plan this raid and that you didn’t invite them along as observers, they just happen to be across the street, saw the raid, and decided to come over and observe?” The question was objected to as antagonistic, but provided for one of the lighter moments in court.
“As far as I am concerned,” said Pastor Rubin, “The government, in this case, is using ‘domestic terrorism’ as defined in the federal statutes. They used the threat of violence against a church to achieve the political goal of continued prohibition of cannabis.”
Tara Rubin, the Pastor’s wife said, “My husband is acting on faith, showing courage by going against the normal thinking that this plant is harmful and we both have peace of mind that we are doing right in God’s eyes according to the Bible.” The Pastor and his wife have seven children and Mrs. Rubin is expecting the family’s eighth child.
The D.A. is taking the stand that Rubin’s faith in the God of the Bible is merely a smoke screen to use and dispense cannabis to the faithful stoners and not God’s faithful. For his part Rubin claims it is religious discrimination that dates back to the early 1970s.
On May 26, 1971 speaking to HR “Bob” Halderman in the White House former President Nixon said, “It’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews?” Joking about the former President’s comment, Pastor Rubin said, “I am just trying to gather my people together to spread the gospel. Even President Nixon knew that there was something Jewish about this herb.”
Rubin describes himself as a Messianic Jew, a Jew that knows Jesus as the Messiah. Temple 420 calls cannabis, the proper term for marijuana, the Biblical “Tree of Life” because of all the uses of hemp, another word for industrial cannabis, and the description of the plant in the Bible. It is a plant with at least 12 uses and it is harvested 12 months a year. Further, the leaves of the this plant can be used for the healing of all nations, in that it can be made into a myriad of things such as food, fuel and fiber for clothing just to name a few.