Roger Christie is a minister and founder of the THC Ministry in Hawaii, a church that provided cannabis to its members as a religious sacrament for 10 years until it was raided this year by the DEA. Christie was arrest and charged with possession and sale of marijuana with 13 others on Hawaii’s Big Island and denied bail.
Head activists from the marijuana legalization group NORML, Allen St. Pierre and “Radical” Russ Belville, have published recent articles (here and here) critical of Christie and the judicial battle for the religious and spiritual use of cannabis in US courts – one article referring to the fight for recognition as “a fool’s errand”.
Activist and cannabis historian Chris Bennett wrote this response to what he felt was an unfair treatment of Christie and uninformed swipe at those fighting for religious and spiritual cannabis freedoms.
Cannabis Culture has been in contact with Christie from behind bars and presents his response:
1.) Why I live and breathe and work and fight for sacramental Cannabis is because it’s MY TRUTH. My truth leads me to my actions in this big and important part of my life. I knew the risk of being public with my sacramental use. I remain steadfast in my personal and professional spiritual/religious convictions.
2.) a. I’m not a “self-styled Minister”, I was trained and lived as a Practitioner in Religious Science for six years. Then I joined the Religion of Jesus Church in Hawai’i, a church that has multiple stipulations from Hawaii State courts as being “bona fide” where its members were “sincere in their use of marijuana as a sacrament”. Hawaii v. Shields, and Hawaii v. Adler, etc.
b. After being a member of the Religion of Jesus Church for seven years I was ordained as a Minister to further the mission and the teachings. I created the THC Ministry as a non-demoninational organization according to my evolving personal spirituality.
c. My ordainment was legal enough for the State of Hawaii to license me for life specifically as a “Cannabis sacrament” Minister to perform the marriage ceremony. It’s the first such designation in the USA that I’m aware of, and that state recognition effectively legitimized my ordainment and my mission.
d. As a Minister I perform legal weddings, conduct baptisms, funerals, and offer counseling and communion fellowship with members. Try performing a funeral for three hundred people in a large family ohana in Hawai’i and then tell me you’re not a real Minister.
3.) a. I sought recognition (Declaratory Relief and Permanent Injunction) in the US Federal Courts in 2004 when I told them in writing that I operated a therapeutic Cannabis Ministry requiring large amounts of Cannabis in order to make the holy anointing oil and tinctures, etc. I didn’t ask their permission, as the Creator gave me the right to do this. I asked that they respect my Ministry rights according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the law. They let me operate for over four happy years after that constructive notice with zero investigation on their part.
b. I feel I’m in a better position now because I’m not asking for anything from the prohibitionist US government except a fair trial with a jury of my peers to decide if I’m guilty or innocent of the charges against me beyond a reasonable doubt. Could I win? Of course I could! What would that look like? Immunity from prosecution to operate the THC Ministry.
I’m putting my faith and my life in the hands of the jury system of the USA to nullify the charges against me. See www.fija.org for details.
4.) I only know of one other person in jail in the THC Ministry. This member of ours lost his case because the Judge refused to hear his religious defense. The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth was NOT allowed to be heard in that court.
All the best to everyone!
Roger Christie, Founder
Click here to go to the THC Ministry website
Click here to go to NORML’s website