[CC Editor’s note: Craig X’s court date is scheduled for today. Cannabis Culture has been in contact with the Pastor and will bring you the latest soon.]
A local pastor is preaching the benefits of pot to his followers. But now this marijuana ministry is facing the wrath of county prosecutors.
While Los Angeles city leaders struggle to figure out how to deal with the hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries that have sprung up all over town, law enforcement is targeting alleged law-breakers. A pastor who built his ministry around marijuana is now out of business. One look at the storefront on one West Los Angeles street and you know you’re looking at a marijuana dispensary. Beverly Hills Green Cross is different.
Craig Rubin conducts bible study there. The ordained minister is pastor of Temple 420, a marijuana ministry.
“What we’ve always tried to do, my wife and I, is present god to people who use medical marijuana,” said Rubin. “[The Bible] says ‘we are healed by his stripes’ in Isaiah 53, and a as a Jewish person, I believe the Old Testament, and I think Christians should believe the Old Testament is valid. I teach a course in college called ‘The Jewish History of the New Testament.’
“Marijuana is specifically mentioned in the Book of Exodus in a holy anointing oil. It’s called ‘cannabossum,'” said Rubin.
You could say he practices what he preaches. When asked if he smoked cannabis, Rubin said, “Yes, I do smoke.” The last time he lit up? “Ten minutes ago.”
L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley says he’s cracking down on hundreds of marijuana dispensaries he says are operating illegally in Los Angeles. Cooley says religion is just another way dope dealers try to get around the law to make a profit.
“I want to reach out to people who do smoke pot and let them know that god still loves them, and they’re welcome to come to church, and that it isn’t a sin to smoke pot,” said Rubin.
“I think they’re frauds and they’re corrupt,” said Cooley. “And they should be pursued by people in positions of law enforcement authority.”
That’s what happened at Rubin’s dispensary. After an undercover investigation, L.A. police raided the place on October 22 at 4:20 in the afternoon.
Rubin is in big trouble. He was already on probation after being convicted previously of marijuana possession for sale. Now he’s facing those same charges again, plus a possible probation violation that could send him to prison for years.
“Hey, I’m facing jail time,” said Rubin. “And really I feel I haven’t done anything wrong but try and preach the word.”
Rubin said he’s being singled out because he’s an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana who once ran for mayor of Los Angeles. He says his dispensary was licensed and that he’d consulted with the city attorney’s office to make sure they were OK with it.
Rubin was arraigned on Monday. He’s acting as his own attorney.
He says god and the law are both on his side, that the law under which he’s being prosecuted makes an exception for ordained ministers.
One of his supporters could be seen Monday smoking a marijuana cigarette right outside the courthouse.
“The state makes an exception for duly ordained ministers to run psychological clinics, and we do provide psychological counseling and services, biblical services,” said Rubin.
Rubin is due back in court in January, representing himself and his beliefs, with his freedom on the line.
Rubin says he has the documentation to prove his innocence and he’s ready to go to trial. He’s undeterred by the fact that the last time he acted as his own attorney, he was convicted.
– Article from ABC News on December 8, 2009.
How Medical Marijuana Prosecutions Have Gutted Freedom of Religion
Pastor Craig Rubin and his Temple 420 have existed for 40 days and are one of the most famous religious institutions in the world. The Temple operated for 38 days in 2006 before the pastor was arrested and told by an LAPD officer, “The Judeo-Christian religion is not real and is not protected by the law.” He received permission from a judge to reopen and obtained a new license in 2009 from the City of Angels, and after 2 days of operation Rubin was arrested again. What is his crime, “possession and sales of marijuana?”
That is right: Rubin, after playing the owner of a medical marijuana club on the show Weeds, decided with his wife to open a real-life cannabis dispensary along with hundreds of other people in the City of Angels. However, Rubin continues to be arrested for it while others don’t and it could be religious discrimination, Rubin says.
“Religion is just another way dope dealers try to get around the law to make a profit. I think they are frauds and are corrupt and should be pursued by those in positions of authority,” District Attorney of Los Angeles, Steve Cooley, has been quoted as saying.
The District Attorney is actually pursuing Rubin aggressively, it seems. So much so that the family is now homeless as the City of Los Angeles seized the money Rubin’s wife had earned from her job at a law firm in the San Fernando Valley. Rubin was enjoying his day off at his wife’s store when the place was raided without a search warrant and the Rubin family once again had their life savings seized prior to a conviction.
Rubin was originally arrested for child abuse, but the judge dropped those charges. In Rubin’s Demur he provided the court with documents showing that LAPD falsified evidence against the pastor. LAPD officers claimed a young boy the pastor was caring for that day was in the cannabis shop when in actuality both the pastor and the young boy never entered the cannabis shop that day, but were arrested in Rubin’s wife’s store. Rubin is now being charged with allegedly selling one gram of marijuana to an undercover officer, Cecil Mallard, who came into his church dispensary as a qualified cannabis patient and assigned Temple 420 as his primary caregiver.
The City is once again claiming the money Rubin’s wife earned is “drug money” and therefore they have the right to take the family’s money. This is the same excuse the City used four years ago. Ever since the money was seized, within the first weeks of the seizure, the City has offered to refund a percentage of the money without a hearing, but the Rubin family has refused as the money had come from the refinancing of their house and not from drugs.
The City would prefer to settle the matter rather than take it to court, says Rubin. However the Rubin family is demanding a day in court; and right as the matter was finally about to be adjudicated, Rubin is arrested again and his life savings seized again. Rubin was initially told by City officials that his money could be held for ten to fifteen years without a trial, as the money was arrested, according the City and the money has no habeas corpus rights, “I guess money is just Federal Reserve script that can be seized at any time. The Los Angeles City and County Attorneys have decided to overrule the U.S. Constitution and are deciding which religious establishments are legal and which are not,” claims Rubin. “I think they should be thrown in jail for not respecting the U.S. Constitution and stealing people’s money like thieves.”
When Rubin says regarding the first trial, “The judge even said I could not quote from the Bible.” Rubin first opened Temple 420 in 2006 and was convicted in what can be described as a Third World “kangaroo court” where Judge Strobell prohibited Rubin from mentioning medical marijuana as well as the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “It was shocking to me that the Constitution and Bill of Rights could be banned from a U.S. Court of Law, but the judge said mentioning them would confuse the jury as to the law,” and Rubin’s claim is supported by the record.
Rubin was convicted in that case, but says if he were allowed to show the evidence of the Officer Tracey Fields-Black allegedly perjuring herself in court, then he would have won the case. Rubin was not allowed to show the jury photos that the officer could look at while she was on the stand. She then testified to as to what she saw or didn’t see in the photo, but the photos weren’t allowed to be shown to the jury. Rubin claims if the jury saw the photos they would know she lied, but the judge prohibited it.
America has no idea how the court system works, “I just pray for a fair trial this time.” Rubin thinks he may actually get a fair trial this time because, “The world is different than it was in 2006 when I was one of the first cannabis clubs in the city. I think this is purely politically retaliation on behalf of the City Attorney’s office.” Rubin has been a vocal advocate on behalf of ending cannabis prohibition and is a regular at local meetings where he challenges the officials who work for the City Attorney’s Office and their interpretation of the law.
Rubin’s video evidence taken from his surveillance cameras was kept out of court in his first trial because Rubin didn’t qualify as a video expert according to the court. Rubin’s videos were seen for the first time on KABC who is covering the former candidate for mayor’s trial.
Video Link: (KABC-TV Los Angeles)
In the video, officers can be seen in full riot gear kicking down the door of Rubin’s sanctuary and arresting the pastor at his house of worship. Rubin went to marijuana legal groups for help who refused to get involved because it was a church and to religious defense organizations like the American Center for Law and Justice that would normally defend religious people, but they refused on the grounds they didn’t want to help a “drug cult.”
Rubin teachings focus on the Ten Commandments and the testimony of Jesus Christ saying, “If it is not in the Bible I don’t teach it.” His ministry is reaching out to people who use cannabis for medical reasons. “I know people may not like what we do, but they don’t realize if they don’t stand up for us and for our right to be a religious organization than everyone’s rights are diminished.”
At the time of Rubin’s arrest Temple 420 was a California registered Religious Corporation and yet the organization was afforded none of the rights or protections of a religious establishment. In the first case it was an LAPD officer who decided they were not a “real religion.” In this instance, Rubin’s arrest of October 22, 2009; it is the City and District Attorneys who are deciding that a religious establishment is not protected under the U.S. Constitution. You may or may not agree that medical marijuana is a good thing, but in both cases Rubin was running a permitted and licensed church facility and is being singled out for prosecution because of his religious convictions.
More Information: http://profiles.send2press.com/Craig_X_Rubin.shtml.
– Article from Send2Press Newswire on December 8, 2009.