Religious Cannabis User Awaits Judgment Day in Federal Court Case

Religious marijuana user and activist Chris Bennett speaking at a pot rally in Vancouver.Religious marijuana user and activist Chris Bennett speaking at a pot rally in Vancouver.As the Federal Court Justice exited the courtroom and closed the door behind him, an odd look flashed unanimously across the faces of those who remained that could only be described as, ‘Holy shit. What the Hell just happened?’

We had just spent the last day and a half as witnesses to possibly one of the most unorthodox and mind-bending proceedings that has ever made its way through Canada’s courts.

The unique case was a challenge put to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by cannabis activist Chris Bennett and his attorney Kirk Tousaw, which eventually played out in a downtown Vancouver courtroom on November 8 and 9.

Bennett, the former manager of the Pot TV Network and a contributor to Cannabis Culture, believes cannabis is the Tree of Life described in the Christian Bible and a sacred plant that has played a major role in the practice of countless religions throughout human history.

He’s written three published books on the subject of marijuana and religion, and uses cannabis daily to induce a revelatory experience – his connection with the collective consciousness – as part of his Gnostic faith.

In February of 2009, Bennett applied for an exemption from the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) that would allow him to use seven grams of marijuana each day as a religious sacrament, submitting to the Minister of Health information about his research and beliefs, and a statutory declaration and under-oath sworn statement.

Under Section 56 of the CDSA, the Minister has the right to “exempt any person or class of persons” from the provisions of the Act if it “is necessary for a medical or scientific purpose or is otherwise in the public interest.” This provision has been used in the past – indeed, the first legal users of medical marijuana in Canada were granted exemptions under Section 56.

A few months later, without contacting Bennett for further information or doing any research into the history of the religious use of cannabis, the Minister’s office denied his request, stating only that it “would not be in the public interest.”

Bennett wasted no time in filling for a judicial review of the Minister’s decision in Federal Court and an order to compel the issuing of an exemption – or a declaration by the courts that laws prohibiting possession and production of marijuana are unconstitutional and violate several sections of the Charter. These sections include Section 2, which protects religious freedoms; Section 7, which protects the liberty and security of the person; and Section 15, which guarantees equality and prevents discrimination on the basis of religious belief.
As the months passed in the lead-up to the judicial review, Bennett submitted affidavits from several professors outlining a rich history of the use of psychoactive substances as sacraments for religious and spiritual purposes. The government also filed its own affidavits.

The Judicial Review

Bennett’s lawyer Kirk Tousaw is also a well-known cannabis activist, the executive director of the Beyond Prohibition Foundation, and a contributor to Cannabis Culture and Pot TV. Most importantly, he is a top-notch lawyer with razor-sharp courtroom prowess.

On day one of the judicial review, Tousaw laid out the history of his client’s path to his current spiritual understanding, which began in the 1990s when Bennett was a nightwatchman at fish-packing plant who smoked pot only occasionally for fun. After a series of events led him to read the Bible, Bennett had the shining epiphany that cannabis was the Holy Tree of Life referred to in the Book of Revelation, whose leaves “were for the healing of the nations”.

After his revelation, Bennett began extensive studies into the history of cannabis and its use by various religions from around the globe, which eventually lead to his becoming a full-time cannabis activist and author. His three books, Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic & Religion, Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible and Cannabis and the Soma Solution, delve deeply into the plants long relationship with various religions.

In his explorations into the divine plant, Chris eventually found the The Church of the Universe, a religious organization that, like him, recognized cannabis as the Tree of Life. He became a member, reverend, and doctor of theology of the group.

Tousaw explained this and much more to the court, describing the intricacies of Bennett’s beliefs and explaining how the prohibition on marijuana and the Minister’s denial prevent him from practicing his chosen religion, therefore violating the Charter.

“The deleterious effects that Mr. Bennett experiences are that he is forced to chose between his liberty and his heath and religious freedom,” Tousaw said. “That he is driven to the black market in order to facilitate the exercise of his religious freedom. The stress of possible persecution. The stigma of being seen as a criminal. … As well as the possibility of losing custody of his son and having his property seized.”

He argued that the Minister’s explanation for denying his clients exemption, that it “would not be in the public interest,” was insufficient – and that since there is already a system for issuing exemptions for medical marijuana that has not led to negative consequences for Canadians, it couldn’t possibly hurt to issue one more exemption for religious purposes.

Tousaw noted that the religious use of the psychoactive substance peyote is legal in Canada. He also mentioned that a tentative exemption was granted by the government for the religious use of Ayahuasca, though the judge did not allow the latter information to be used in court.

Read Bennett’s Memorandum of Fact and Law.

Other Cannabis and Religion Cases

Bennett’s is one of several cases that have argued the religious right to cannabis in the Canadian courts.

In an earlier court case involving two reverends of the G13 Church of the Universe in Toronto, Bennett helped with the case. The two men were using the religious right to cannabis as a defense after they were busted trafficking in marijuana and hashish when police raided their church. The government filed an affidavit in the case from a Catholic Priest they expected to used as an “expert witness”, who called their beliefs a “parody religion”. Although the Judge ruled that the men held sincere religious beliefs about cannabis being the Tree of Life, as in other church cases, the men lost the case.  

A different case involving Church of the Universe Reverend Ian Hunter’s use of cannabis as a religious sacrament also involved Bennett as a potential expert witness. The Judge ruled that Hunter was sincere and that cannabis had been used historically as a religious sacrament. But in a ridiculous verdit, the Judge said he could not allow it to go further, as that would open the law up to Indian Thugees, who ritually murder people, and cannibals who ritually eat people to practice their religion. This is obviously an irrelevant point, as both of these groups require victims and the violation of someone else’s charter rights. Hunter did not appeal the case, as he received only a small fine for selling seeds from his shop the Sacred Herb, which set a precedent for future Canadian seed sales. Hunter’s case was the last for the 72-year-old Judge Montague Drake II, who was a second-generation Canadian judge.

The Honourable Michel M.J. Shore

From the moment Judge Shore walked into the courtroom, it was evident it wasn’t going to be an average day in Federal Court.

A silver-haired man with an average build who looked about sixty-years-old, his first instruction was for his assistant to switch-off the fluorescent lights in favour of the natural light streaming in through the large windows, which he said he preferred.

He then made everyone in the room, including all the observers in the gallery, stand up and introduce themselves and reveal their profession or “what they do”. Everyone in the room complied, including an observer from the Department of Justice and an observer from Health Canada. Two observers who identified themselves as medical marijuana users were asked bluntly by the Judge to share their conditions, which they did. Later, some members of the gallery expressed discomfort with being put on the spot and asked such personal questions.

Judge Shore was eccentric, but seemed like a caring fellow. He repeated several times that all of us in the room were officers of the court, and that he wanted to “include everyone” in the decision-making process.

It sounded nice at first, but after thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized it didn’t really mean much. That pattern was repeated over and over again for the rest of the hearing in many of Judge Shore’s statements.

The judge told us repeatedly that he had spent considerable time on reviewing the material, and it seemed like he had at least some understanding of the historical relevance of cannabis through the submissions of Bennett and Touaw, and Bennett’s books. During the first break I Googled his name on my iPhone and found a list of books he had authored on the subject of religion and spirituality. At that still-early point, I was beginning to think Judge Shore might actually give Bennett a fair shot.

But all Hell broke loose when we returned from the break.

The Judge got caught up several times in a strange circular logic of nonsensical statements, and would then repeat those statements over and over again – and none of us knew what in the Lord’s Name he was talking about! Many confused glances bounced around the room.

Here’s an example of one of the Judge’s odd statements:

“In order to see what something is, you have to see what someone says it is not. That’s why, for example in any kind of religious dispute, whether it be of a talmudic nature, whether it be of a cannon nature, whether you see in Christian cannon, muslim cannon, and anything else – we have great scholars, for example, who debate, as they did for example in a debate recently in England, an atheist and a religious scholar. So what we’re saying here is that what something is, is defined very often not only by what someone says it is but what someone says it isn’t, in order to know what it is.”

Again, it sounded at first like it might make some sort of sense, but after thinking about it for a second or two, I was lost. So were the others in the gallery. There was no context to the statement and Judge Shore quickly moved into a different train of thought.

He asked Tousaw to continue his arguments several times, but every time the attorney began to speak, the Judge cut him off.

Launching into another confusing rambling, Judge Shore said,

Basically, the decision is going to be either entirely what your colleagues have said in their memorandum of law or the decision will be entirely what you have said in your memorandum of law, it’s all a part and parcel. It’s almost like the religious experience … it’s all integral. You could say we’re wrong or we’re right, whatever decision was taken – you would tell me I was right or wrong. But I have to make the conscious choice and say you are entirely right on the governments side, or Mr. Bennett’s view is completely right. Because it’s integral – you need each part. The moment you dismember or dissect something it’s no longer part of the whole. Either argument.”

He continued,

And I realize that because it would be unfair to you if I dissected any of your argument. Because if I dissect it and take it away, it is not whole … my key is to identify and see does each part in each argument you have put together, if it doesn’t fall apart then it is whole. And you’ve got – it has to be – all your arguments have to be integral for you to be successful.

He went on for more than 10 minutes like that, repeating essentially the same thing over and over again and we were all stunned. When we left the courtroom for the second break, everyone admitted they had no idea what he was talking about.

When he wasn’t confusing us, the Judge seemed to want to focus on a few narrow issues that didn’t seem relevant to the case. Some of these were in regard to how some people in foreign countries, like China, are more harshly persecuted for practicing their religious beliefs than Bennett is in Canada. Since we were sitting in a Canadian courtroom arguing Canadian law, discussing what happens in other countries seemed like a waste of time and had little bearing on the case.

The Judge also suggested that though Bennett had only requested a personal exemption for his own religious beliefs, “missionary work” must be an integral part of his belief system. He repeated this several times, giving some of us the impression that he may have been setting Bennett up for a loss with the justifying rational: ‘if I give an exemption to you, I have to give one to everybody else. Then the government would have to create a new exemption scheme, which would entangle it too deeply in religious matters.’

Tousaw’s answered this point in his own remarks:

The absolute prohibition on one’s religious practice is significantly more impactful and detrimental to one’s religious practice than an exemption scheme which may require the government to make certain case by case decisions. In any event, the exemption scheme is already there. You don’t have to create a new exemption scheme. The Minister is considering exemptions on a case by case basis already. … Section 56 is already there to operate as a potential exemption scheme. What would the government consider in deciding whether to grant exemptions? It would consider those things that the Supreme Court of Canada said is permissible for the state to consider … the sincerity of the individual’s beliefs that the practice fosters a connection with the divine.

The Judge also asked Bennett whether he would be in court at all if there wasn’t a prohibition on marijuana, apparently attempting to questioning his sincerity in some way.

Tousaw said “no” and noted that if Bennett was free to smoke marijuana as he pleased and there was no law against it, it wouldn’t be possible to ask for an exemption, as there would be no law to be exempt from.

The Prosecution’s Argument

When it was Government Prosecutor Robert Danay’s turn at bat, he attempted to simplify and shorten his argument down to a few basic points:

Based on the controlling jurisprudence and legislative-backed evidence, there is no question that the applicant’s practice of smoking seven grams of marijuana everyday poses a serious risk of harm to his health [and]… as a result of that, granting the applicant the exemption that he seeks would completely undermine the primary objectives of the CDSA, particularly the protection of health.

Out of the gates, Danay claimed seven grams of pot rolls into 35 joints. The gallery chuckled and Tousaw suggested it was more like 14. Then Danay dropped the health-risk bomb, claiming marijuana is a dangerous, addictive, cancer-causing substance that may cause permanent brain damage.

Even the Judge wasn’t feeling this one and brushed it off quickly. Tousaw countered that vaporizing the marijuana would remove any negative effects associated with smoking.

The prosecution then claimed granting an exemption for Bennett would mean “opening the flood gates” for everyone, and somehow included Cannabis Culture in his argument:

If all that one needed to do in order to obtain marijuana legally was sign a declaration saying that one believes that marijuana is the Tree of Life, there can be no doubt that there will be a veritable flood of individuals doing just that. … Yesterday, one of the individuals in the gallery was the editor for Cannabis Culture Magazine, and one could only imagine what the front page of Cannabis Culture Magazine would be if the applicant today would be granted the relief that he is seeking. I think that message would be transmitted far and wide.

Danay said the best interests of the collective outweigh Bennett’s individual religious freedoms; and since marijuana is potentially dangerous, it would be irresponsible of the Judge to allow the exemption.

He also said Bennett failed in his duty to provide the minister with the evidence necessary to show his practice has “the requisite nexus with religion” and that it would be inaccurate to compare Bennett’s “completely unrestrained” consumption of marijuana use with the religious sacraments in other religions.

One other point the prosecution seemed to be in line with the Judge about, was that in other religions, as Danay put it, “the psychoactive substance itself is not the central belief, rather, the use of the substance is a religious practice that assists people in their worship.”

Read the government’s Memorandum of Fact and Law.

Another Strange Twist

Just before Tousaw was given the chance to read his final remarks, the Judge decided to pull him and Bennett and the two prosecutors into his private chambers for a closed-door discussion.

Bennett told me in a interview after court had adjourned that the Judge made him an offer to simply walk away and leave things as they were.

“The Judge said, ‘why don’t we just leave this as it is? We have two complete points of view here. Two points of view that can stand alone. And we can leave here with a new understanding.’ Then I said, ‘What would be the benefit of that? At least with a ‘No’ I can appeal it.”

Judge Shore asked Bennet how far he though he’d get with another judge who may be less interested, and Bennett answered that he didn’t make predictions about outcomes, but preferred to walk the path he is on because he felt he is right and sincere in his beliefs.

When the Judge seemed upset, Bennett told him he should just send the file back to the Minister’s office and tell them to put the same sort sort of due diligence the Judge had put into the file and write a better response.

“I told him there were only two options for me,” Bennet said. “Either I leave here as a free man or I leave here as a criminal.”

Everyone agreed the private meeting with the judge was unlike anything they had experienced before.

Final Remarks

Tousaw told me in an interview after we finished in court that he though he had put forward the best argument possible given the state of the case law and the evidence available.

“I think we did enough to establish that Chris’s Section 2 rights are being violated and that he sincerely believes what he said to the Minister he did believe,” he said. “The question really in my mind boils down to, given that he has passed that threshold, what is society prepared to tolerate? We already tolerate exemptions for other important purposes, and I think Canadian society is ready to grant another in this case.”

In the Memorandum of Fact and Law submitted by the government, Danay wrote that Bennett failed to connect his “marihuana use” with a “comprehensive system of faith and worship”:

For example, the applicant failed to establish any connection between his practice and any moral or ethical precepts or obligations. He did not even suggest that there are any restrictions imposed by the Church of the Universe on the use of marihuana by its adherents. He did not indicate that the Church prohibits the consumption of marihuana in the presence of children or while driving a car or operating heavy machinery. To the contrary, on cross-examination the applicant repeatedly maintained that all uses of cannabis, no matter what the context, are “sacramental” (and this presumably permitted). His evidence on this point is consistent with the evidence of the accused in R. v. Hunter, who testified that the moral dictates of the Church of the Universe could be summed up by the phrase “[do]as you will”.

Tousaw closed his final argument in court with this quote from French Renaissance writer François Rabelais, a monk and bachelor of medicine, who like Bennett was persecuted for cannabis use, and wrote about it under coded references as “the plant pantagreulion”,

Do What Thou Wilt; because men that are free, well-born, well-bred, and conversant in honest companies, have naturally an instinct and spur that prompteth them unto virtuous actions, and withdraws them from vice, which is called honour. Those same men, when by base subjection and constraint they are brought under and kept down, turn aside from that noble disposition by which they formerly were inclined to virtue, to shake off and break that bond of servitude wherein they are so tyrannously enslaved; for it is agreeable with the nature of man to long after things forbidden and to desire what is denied us.

Just before leaving the courtroom and a stunned audience behind him, Shore promised he would decide soon, but would probably “need the weekend to sleep on it” before making his Final Judgment.

Bennett awaits his Rapture.

Watch Chris Bennett discuss his thoughts about the case on the latest episode of Cannabis Culture News LIVE.

Jeremiah Vandermeer is editor of Cannabis Culture. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



  1. Anonymous on

    LOL. Make the arrangements and I’ll be your Huckleberry!!

  2. Anonymous on

    I am not a lawyer, but i do have interests, and here are my thoughts.

    You seem to truly believe that cannaibs is the tree of life described in the bible. Although i don’t have much knowledge of your religion, may i suggest if you haven’t done so to write up a list of rules surrounding your religion? Maybe rules isn’t the right word, but in due respects, respectable religions have many documents concerning their faith, and i haven’t seen evidence that you do.. Not to say your religion is true, but you should probaly make it like any other religion in order for the judge to accept it.

    Your best bet is to make a real ceremony that you guys can practice your religion. Say, every sunday at 12 everyone hits a vape bowl and says a small prayer to God? Maybe once a week is just for non-authordox followers, whereas orthadox followers could smoke a vape bowl at 5 pm every night. There could be a mass where a preist would say a sermon and deliver some kind of message, he can deliver news concerning the community. If you were that priest who would devote his time, possibly you can create a confession booth, and all other sorts of religious conventions. Marry people? I think having priets in your religion is probaly a must, every religion has a priest.

    Second, i would get a lot of followers, i mean if i were living in vancouver i would follow your religion, although i wouldn’t set up my own church in vancouver for i would be scrutinized and wouldn’t be sure who would follow me. Having people believe in your religion would go highly in your favour, Show proof that people who follow your religion actually attend ceremonies, and create ceremonies, i do not believe a judge would just let you smoke 7 grams a day for no reason. Muslims have like 5 times a day that they pray.. So set 5 specific times a day that your church can gather and pray. When you pray, have a legit mass, none of this smoke, pray and leave bull****. Actually have some kind of guided prayer and ceremony. Maybe most of the time people come and smoke, say a prayer and leave, but at least once a day or once a week there must be a legit ceremony. I mean im sure you know a lot of people who smoke in vancouver, get them to all gather and smoke together. Even better get them all ask for an exemption and get on this court case. The more people who actually believe this religion is real, your chance will be higher.

    No pun intended.

  3. Anonymous on

    For the record, you don’t yourself think you have a chance of winning.
    Thats a rare breath of realistic thinking blowing from your direction we never thought we’d ever hear, but more power to you Rev Chris.

    There is victory in defeat
    there is success in failure,
    there is nutrition in McDonalds hamburgers.

    The Judge offered you a chance to walk away with dignity, but no.. you wanted to use your cardboard box time machine and evoke the Sumerian Hockey League to score on your behalf. Don’t say you were not given a chance, just say you blew the chance you were given.

    I guess your next big court case will be demanding lung transplants when you wreck your own from smoking so much dope. Lungs don’t have religious experiences: they just get clogged up from tar and ash and fail to deliver oxygen to the brain

    We would fiercely resist with any govt bid to replace your brain,
    Why disturb a perfectly good turnip ?

  4. Anonymous on

    .. uh, you don’t have a real job Chris

    and if anybody was a parasite

    uh…that would be you

    buying dope of questionable potency and reselling it
    in your own stoner community for a unnecessarily large profit

  5. Brother Kase on

    Brother Bennett: I have read your Memorandum of Fact and Law and it is solid. However, as a Reverend of the Church, I do not understand why you refer to yourself as “Mr”.We of the Church do not enter a court without such a proper distinction and acknowledgement being made, specifically by Judges on the Bench. You could not hope to win at the trial level. Focus your energy and the good work done by and your lawyer in the crafting of your memorandum at the appeals level. The panel (of three Judges) will be much better suited in addressing the key constitutional arguments made in your written work. They will be harder on you and your lawyer, but they will be much fairer too. You can expect greater success at that level so please do not become discouraged. You will need at least one judge to acquiece, as I noted earlier, and you could expect that to happen.There is really no need to redo the memorandum since your lawyer has already written it as if this case was seeking leave to appeal in the Supreme Court. All the key arguments are there for the higher courts to consider and so be patient and, well, fuck Justice Shore.
    Brother Kase

  6. Eve Lentz on

    Chris, I wish you all that you have fought hard for! Your right to religious freedom, should not be denied! If anyone deserves it, you do!

  7. Bud Grinder on

    Someone should take Pastor Harper’s Bible and shove it up his ass… sideways and dry.

  8. Anonymous on

    Having your own opinion is apart of the Jewish religion unlike the catholic religion in where the Catholics make decisions without any merit in large groups…

  9. Anonymous on

    i had once used cannabis at night time when i was a young man. i sat alone, on a hill looking at the stars and the mountains. i was not a religious person. i had been educated in a few religions but never really believed the whole story.
    during my younger days i could find definate things that were certainly not correct under my own judgement, that had been told to me in religious schooling.. yet i had to live under this religion as it was so defined to me.

    When i used cannabis i realised that i was not bound by the words of that religion so specific. and that i was able to have my own ideas, some taken from them, and others from what i knew to be true.
    about ten minutes into being high,
    i was absolutely flooded with ideas about who my true god now was, he filtered down to me in the starlight.
    i felt the warmth..and i felt the love and caring and providing the world around.

    it became clear to me how the world was here, and what my place was in it and also that cannabis was what had altered my thinking to allow me to identify this and that cannabis was indeed what had helped to sculpt many others peoples thoughts. i had come to the answers of where my life was headed. i had a few things to change about myself for the better. without this revelation, i would not have changed.

    religion was not present on day one of human existance. religion was founded by man and it was most likely that man ( plural) was not “straight” the whole time. i may not need to use cannabis every day but when i do, i connect with my spiritual side, i relax and i let it all in and it gives me much peace with the way the world is today and it also allows me to focus and look at areas of my life that i can make better.

    It should never be up to a government to decide that any man can now not use cannabis for reconnecting with his god and his religion. what rubbish is this that a man must be denied his right to such a thing because other people might abuse the right that was granted to legitimate cannabis using religious peoples.

    Are they worried that numerous people that use cannabis recreationally will change sides from one main religion that is all through the politics of the country, and through the courts, to another religion? By nature of religion, they tend to persecute other religions. They do not agree with it, but the charter says they must tolerate it and make room for it. They are going to have success at eliminating a religion and harming this man with their thugs if this is fortified.

    this is precisely what they are trying to do by keeping the substance banned. stopping one religion in favour of their own. wine over cannabis? what should have been asked, was not only what the peoples job positions are, but also the religious beliefs. who is their god?
    does their god agree with the charter?
    is their god a jealous god?
    would they harm a fellow man of the earth because they are not a fellow man of their church?

    would it not seem very much foul play if the person against you Chris, was of another religion, and he was ultimately shutting you down from practising your own faith? in doing so, he was not only doing his job, but satisfying his religious ideals as well. if he was of your religious belief, rather than his, would it not be the case that he could not do his job properly?

    i ask, how many beers or wines is a christian allowed to drink on a weekend? surely wine is used in the bible, is there not two uses for alcohol? a system has allowed for canadians to be able to drink regardless of their religion.
    yes christian, or non christian, you can use the christian drink! come with us, be merry.

    do you have cancer? even non religious people get that. non cannabis smokers. people that live in the society crafted by the current govenrment gets cancer.
    so why not BAN everything that can cause cancer should we not? we do not, but it shows where these people are coming from with their arguments.
    what are these tactics!!!!

    You either have a government that claims that all these substances are too dangerous to use, or you have a government that allows their use but punishes when people step out of line for breaking other laws that are ultimately defined by the people ( population) of many religions. you can not choose to ban a substance fully that is used by people practising their religion or leading their lives under those ideas. what you do, is create an exemption for them. Until this is done. this is foul play and no different to placing jesus on the cross.
    which reminds me, if i eat tuna from a can, it can have too much heavy metals in it, depending on how much i take and how my body deals with it. my god did not provide us with metals in our fish at these levels. he would not allow half of the things that the courts have let society as a whole get away with, but i can source my fish from somewhere safe still.

    what can chris do? run away from them before they put him in prison next time he gets caught after they do not give him the expemption? Just watch them send out their goons with guns to bring him back for persecution.

    As if this is not injustice.

  10. Anonymous on

    his case has Public Interest Standing all over it…The Queen is being challenged by her own officers bearing false oaths..How can she defend the Bible and Christian faith when these blackrobed vermin ignore the Bible as law and swaer false oaths to her?

  11. Anonymous on

    Did not see this coming. Seriously though, I commend you on keeping the temper in check, and for getting your weight down. You are a little over-the-top in your public speeches though, getting pretty rambunctious there. It’s not WWE. Tone it down a couple notches, Helmsley. You’re gonna scare the kids.

  12. Chris Bennett on

    There has been a decision to the negative in my case, the Judge Michel Shore basically cut and pasted Health Canada’s memorandum of facts and law, which was what I thought this nitwit was going to do in the first place, after he stated “Basically, the decision is going to be either entirely what your colleagues have said in their memorandum of law or the decision will be entirely what you have said in your memorandum of law, it’s all a part and parcel. It’s almost like the religious experience … it’s all integral. You could say we’re wrong or we’re right, whatever decision was taken – you would tell me I was right or wrong. But I have to make the conscious choice and say you are entirely right on the governments side, or Mr. Bennett’s view is completely right. Because it’s integral – you need each part. The moment you dismember or dissect something it’s no longer part of the whole. Either argument.” I will let everyone know when I have had a chance to post the decision somewhere.

  13. Dan Peterson on

    I love your book “Cannabis and The Soma Solution”. Thank you for all your hard work.

  14. Chris Bennett on

    an exemption, sets a precedent others could follow. I know you are not the only one Toke Bloke, but what are you doing about it?

  15. Anonymous on

    Why and how does the prosecutor get away with claiming health issues with cannabis? That is perjury is it not? The health arm of the government has no evidence of harms from cannabis – no cancers, no copd etc, why did Tousaw not challenge this??

    Chris, whilst I support your efforts and claims, I feel the justice minister, sorry health minister, will not allow the prohibition floodgates to open. This prohibition is illegal implemented – we all feel that…

    I honestly believe Bud the Oracle (Klaus Kaczor) has revealed the real issue behind the CDSA – that the minister(s) of the day are making the law not equal to all persons, by exempting without parliamentary review tobacco and alcohol – and that prohibition is not spelled out, rather regulation and control for public health and safety. The minister is misadministrating the law…

    It shouldn’t be end prohibition – it should be start regulations and control…!

    Good luck to you. I hope you win, obviously – but what about the rest of us believers, you’re not the only one…

    Sincerely, toke bloke.

  16. Brother Kase on

    You did the right thing by looking past the present Federal-Trial Court level to one involving a panel of appeal judges. They will be alot harder on you then Justice Shore. I hope your lawyer has some jury experience since at that level he must address and look at each judge indidually-like a jury. This may seem more like a techicality but the objective is to get at least one judge willing to aquiece in your favor.You have no hope of winning. A divided panel is your only hope for the Supreme Court of Canada to consider granting you leave to appeal. Good luck.
    PS. In the G13 trial, the Crown never called the Catholic Priest,Roland Jacques as a witness. Anyway, you may read my comments to his expert opinion on the Church of the Universe website. Those submissions were not entered on behalf of the defendents by their lawyer, Mr.Paul Lewin.

  17. Chris Bennett on

    Indeed, why would someone believe in a real plant like cannabis with actual medical uses, and industrial ones that can heal man and the planet, when they could believe in virgin births, Resurrection, magical miracles and other things that people like you and Stephen Harper do. Its just crazy! Next thing you know I will be talking about Evolution! LMAO.

  18. Anonymous on

    So says the Harper Shill. Get a real job parasite.

  19. Anonymous on

    So they put the craziest judge they could find on the case. He’s almost as bad as the US judge who was always bursting with tears over every little thing. Of course it will go to Supreme, then 4 out of 7 will rule no because Bennett’s whole religion thing is so damn weird that it’s a joke. If they grant Mr. Epiphany the right to use 7 grams of weed a day then they would have to do the same for the guy in the subway with sign saying “Repent”, because his religious claims would be as legitimate as Bennett’s and 90% less weird. Church of the Universe? Leaders in jail. Not the best church to claim affiliation with in court if you want to be taken seriously. That “church” is well known to have been created as a front for the “Reverends'” trafficking operations.

  20. Anonymous on

    I would laugh my ass off.

    If Chris went and bought a gun, a steak knife, a couple ropes, some flammable paint thinner.

    And put on a scary movie mask, found the judge in mens washroom.

    And had some fun slowly chasing the judge.

    Secretly found out where everyone lives who says he’s a criminals. Including cops.

    Then made a list of everyone he hates, and wrote a suicide note.

    Just before leaving go on a rampage like in a video game!

    This proves you can’t solve things with guns, but then why do cops do it.

  21. Bud Grinder on

    Of course this is going to the Supreme Court whichever way the judge decides, provided that you can finance that.

    If you win in this venue, the Crown will appeal it to the Supreme Court and you’ll have to defend.

    Considering that the Supremes have recently shoved it up Harper’s ignorant ass over the Insite case, you might actually stand a chance there.

  22. Sister Lauren on

    I do feel kind of hopeful, not that I can say why. I also just wanted to let you know I reviewed your terrific story today in AlterNet. Here is a link to it,

    I really enjoy watching you guys talk about the case in the video. Thanks for sharing. I have a feeling that soon we are going to win. We should pray on it. Maybe have a ceremony. I’m very interested to hear what they think is missing as far as our religion being real. Maybe if I know what is missing, I can produce it for them.

    Blessed be,

    Reverend Lauren Unruh
    THC Ministry, Pleasant Hill, California
    A Native American Church

  23. Chris Bennett on

    For the record, I am not overly optimistic. I think the Judge is going to violate my charter right to religious freedom, and was not feeling so great about that, and wanted me to drop the case so he wouldn’t “have” to do that.