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.