Church of the Universe Cannabis Court Ruling Fails

G13 Church of the Universe extensive efforts to legalize cannabis for religious use has been foiled.

In a forty-five minute ruling today, Monday Feb. 7, Madam Justice Thea Herman agreed marijuana had spiritual benefit for the two reverend brothers. However, she declined to invalidate Canada marijuana laws. There’s no religious right to smoke marijuana. Yet there were several moments during her speech where it appeared Rev. Peter Styrsky and Shahrooz Kharaghani were going to win.

Her reasoning was that limits imposed (prohibition) were reasonable under Section 1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Trafficking marijuana does not deserve protection as a religious freedom.

The justice held their spiritual beliefs were sincere. However, the lack of church structure did cause her some concern. Justice Herman noted their were no controls or input on who received sacrament. Some people attended church service, many did not. The lack of religious structure appeared to trouble her. She noted other religions that use illicit drugs for spiritual enlightenment do so on certain occasions. They put limits on their use. Using their spiritual drug only for certain ceremonies.

Church of the Universe core belief is cannabis is the tree of life. Therefore they don’t place limits on cannabis use. Rev. Peter provided some instruction on marijuana as religious sacrament, but they didn’t reserve their marijuana for time of the days or when or where. The Justice noted G-13 had been a hemp store, a compassion club, before finally becoming a church of the universe. She did note, “They provided high quality marijuana at a reasonable price.”

The packed-with-supporters courtroom broke out in a chuckle. Plenty of church goers, enthusiasts and activists attended the 10am session. Many had to stand as the room lacked seating. Many members of the media sat in the jury box. The day was snowy and many held strong belief that it was sign from mother nature. It wasn’t yucky yellow snow, but soft beautiful snowflakes. The kind pot poems are written about.

Matt Mernagh
Matt Mernagh

Matt Mernagh is author of Marijuana Smoker's Guidebook The Easy Way To Identify and Enjoy Marijuana Strains ( by Green Candy Press and hosts a weekly weedy webcast The Menahuana Zone on Pot.TV every Tuesday. The Mernagh Ruling is a test case of Canada's cannabis laws and was spearheaded by Mernagh, lawyer Paul Lewin and 22 witnesses from across Canada.



  1. Anonymous on

    I live in Puslinch in Ontario where Walter Tucker ran a nudist “resort” out of a gravel pit(1976). He has always been a little different but harmless as far as I can see. If you stick your head up the “man” will pound it down. Like Marc.

  2. Anonymous on

    Oh, I see, the judge found that the laws controlling Cannabis use meet a ““pressing and substantive” goal: “the avoidance of harm to Canadians, in particular, the avoidance of harm to vulnerable individuals.” She didn’t bother to mention what that harm might be but I’m pretty sure that tobacco has a few harms for the vulnerable too, like school kids for instance. What about THOSE vulnerable people, Judge? Lung cancer not enough of a harm to be worth protecting the vulnerable from by prohibiting tobacco? I don’t think scary pictures on the package is going to do it.

    Below are the most recent stats for Cannabis use in Canada. Looks like it’s decreasing and Harper hasn’t even started throwing them into prison yet. Looks like including Cannabis in S-10 was completely unnecessary. Harper just likes to pretend that Cannabis is a problem so he can try to fix something that isn’t even a problem, by throwing billions of dollars at it.

    “Among Canadians 15 years and older, the prevalence of past-year cannabis use decreased from 14.1% in 2004 to 10.6% in 2009.

    The prevalence of past-year cannabis use decreased, among youth aged 15 to 24 years, from 37.0% in 2004 to 26.3% in 2009.”

    I won’t put the url because then I would have to fill out an extra captcha, but it’s from Health Canada’s own website. My point is that the judge is so ditzy that she doesn’t even know that tobacco is far more harmful than Cannabis, and so is alcohol. When you bring that up to a judge they say, as they did in the Terry Parker case, “It is accepted that beverage alcohol and tobacco, although both potentially individually addictive and carrying with their use a huge taxpayers’ cost, are tolerated in our society (although regulated) as part of the cultural tradition of the majority of our community. The same cannot be said of marijuana and therefore it is argued it ought to be prohibited.”

    Well, as far as I know, tobacco use is in a minority of the population now and has been for many years. So why the lack of prohibition? Even if it were in the majority does that make it okay? How do they figure that? I would say that Cannabis is more of a cultural tradition in Vancouver than is tobacco, so I guess it has to be treated the same as tobacco now, unless Canadian legislators have a total double standard, which would be a violation of the fundamental principles of justice.

    I admit that alcohol use is about 3/4 of the population, due to it being pushed by the government, but tobacco use is definitely in the minority so that completely invalidates the excuse given by judges. So what now is their new excuse? Oh, they don’t have one? So Cannabis prohibition is entirely arbitrary? Well, well. Canada is imposing arbitrary laws on its citizens, which is again a violation of the fundamental principles of justice and therefore unconstitutional. Too bad we live in a dictatorship where judges can justify their decisions by simply lying. What can you do when the judges are all in league with the dictators and can do whatever the hell they want and back it up with outright lies? We can’t even rise up against them because they had the foresight to disarm the population, unlike the US. Now we’re their helpless subjects. They can do whatever the hell they want to us, whenever they want, without any valid justification whatsoever and we just have to take it. Oh Canada!

  3. Dave on

    How is Chris’s challenge going and how does this ruling affect his case?