Phil Tarver of the religious Children of the World Foundation in Texas also continues to speak the truth of his belief in the holy cannabis sacrament. After the government told him that he could legally grow cannabis in 1997, he was arrested and charged. Since then he has been asking the courts to recognize his religious use.
On September 26, 2000 Tarver was in state court, seeking recognition under the brand new Texas Religious Freedoms Act, passed at the beginning of that month. Tarver is a pacifist, concerned about violent police action against himself and his family.
“I was asking for a temporary injunction so the police couldn’t come and do a no-knock raid,” said Tarver. “and shoot me like they did Troy Davis.”
Troy Davis was a Texas marijuana grower who was shot and killed by police during a no-knock raid on his home. Police videotape, says Tarver, shows that cops blasted through Davis’ door and shot him almost immediately. According to Tarver, the weapon that they found beside Davis’ body had no fingerprints on it, fueling speculation that it may have been planted there by the cops.
Tarver insists that he isn’t exaggerating the dangers of being a sacramental cannabis user in Texas. He knows of six people who have agreed to inform on him in return for lighter sentences on other crimes, and earlier this year he discovered that the Catholic church is being used as an instrument of inquisition into his “heretical” hemp activities.
“Father John Parnell of the local Catholic Church told me that he was commissioned, by Governor George W Bush, for the last several years to keep records on our lodge,” Tarver said. “[Parnell] said that he was commissioned to be a member of the Texas Elite Task Force.”
Tarver’s temporary injunction was turned down last September, so on April 25, 2001 ? the day after talking to Father Parnell ? Tarver filed an appeal. Included in the appeal was a 40-page brief, asking that the lawyers who persecuted him be charged with hate crimes and detailing previous successful religious cannabis cases in Guam and Wyoming.
In his April 25 motion, Tarver asked the court for three remedies.
“I have asked the court to appoint us an attorney,” said Tarver. “I asked the court to examine itself and see if it isn’t preferenced towards Christianity, in honouring all of their sabbaths, and not honouring anyone else’s sabbaths. I also asked that the court recognize our sacramental use of hemp and peyote and release all people incarcerated on non-violent hemp charges.” Tarver still awaits a response from the state.
? Tarver would like to make two clarifications to the story Sacramental Cannabis Sects (CC #27). In the story we wrote that Tarver received “a year and a half, time served.” Time served, says Tarver, meant that he only spent three days in jail on a one-day sentence. We also wrote that Tarver’s judge had given him permission to grow hemp. Tarver says that he actually received word via the state attorney, from the Ministry of Agriculture.