Chris Bennett is a pot activist, cannabis historian, and a longtime contributor to Cannabis Culture and Pot-TV, who has been fighting an ongoing battle with the Canadian government and courts over the religious use of marijuana.
Now, an important case that could have huge implications for marijuana and Canadian law is going to court.
VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – Pot activist Christopher Bennett claims the Canadian government is making him choose between his religious beliefs and his personal security by not exempting him from marijuana laws. Bennett, a station manager at Vancouver’s Pot-TV, says he uses pot for religious and spiritual purposes after “he experienced a profound epiphany in 1990, coming to the belief that cannabis is the Biblical Tree of Life.”
Bennett, author of the 1995 book, “Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion,” claims that his research suggests that Jesus used marijuana. He also writes for High Times and Cannabis Culture Magazine.
Bennett says the Canadian health minister denied his application for exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, as not in the public interest.
By denying his application, Bennett claims, the health minister placed “him in the constitutionally untenable position of being forced to choose between his religious and spiritual convictions and his liberty and security of the person.”
He seeks an order compelling the minister to allow him to use and produce marijuana on similar terms as medical marijuana patients and a declaration that sections of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act are unconstitutional.
Bennett is represented in Federal Court by Kirk I. Tousaw. [Courthouse News]
Bennett is the author of a soon-to-be-published book called Cannabis and the Soma Solution which explores the plant’s complex relationship with ancient and modern religions.
It just so happens that Mr. Bennett has a store, The Urban Shaman, right next to the Cannabis Culture offices. Mr. Tousaw, also a regular contributor to CC, has an office upstairs in the same building. I will be interviewing the duo about their case for a CC feature article, so stay tuned.