Religion Defense for Pot Use Considered 

Religion Defense for Pot Use Considered 
Posted by FoM on January 26, 2002 at 17:14:37 PT
By Chris Loos, Tribune-Herald
Source: Hawaii-Tribune Herald
A Big Island judge will weigh Jonathan Adler's proclaimed religious right to smoke marijuana against the state's interest in outlawing the drug's use.Adler, a declared candidate for governor, is charged with commercial promotion of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. His first trial ended in a mistrial when a jury was unable to reach a verdict in August.
At that trial, Adler never denied growing the 82 marijuana plants and seven seedlings or possessing the four smoking pipes that police found at his Hawaiian Paradise Park home on Aug. 25, 1998.He said the marijuana was a sacrament in his church and, therefore, his right to use it was protected by the Hawaii Constitution, which forbids the government from passing laws that prohibit the free exercise of religion.After the mistrial, Adler and the state agreed to several key points, and to let Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura decide the remaining issues rather than going through another jury trial.Under the agreement, the judge will assume as fact that Adler possessed the plants and the paraphernalia, that he is a reverend in the Religion of Jesus Church, that the state has issued him a license to perform marriage ceremonies, that he is sincere in his religious convictions concerning the use of marijuana and that he sincerely believes that his religion mandates the sacramental use of the drug.Based on the transcript of the first trial and testimony from four witnesses who testified Thursday, the judge will decide whether Adler's religion does, in fact, mandate pot smoking, whether the state has a "compelling interest" in prohibiting Adler's use of cannabis and, if so, whether that interest outweighs Adler's constitutional right to freely exercise his religion.Most of Thursday's testimony concerned the "compelling interest" issue, with prosecution and defense witnesses offering contradictory testimony about the effects of marijuana use.Tonya Canono, a substance abuse counselor on Oahu, testified smoking marijuana causes a wide range of harmful effects, including short - term memory loss, decreased coping skills, lack of motivation and legal and social problems.Canono, director of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, said the drug is addictive. She said the most prominent symptom of addiction is continued use despite negative consequences. "They would rather go to jail than quit smoking marijuana," she said. "That is a fairly high degree of addiction."The doctor who certified Adler's marijuana use for medical reasons testified that the drug is less harmful than any medication he can prescribe legally.William Wenner, a Big Island general surgeon, testified that Adler approached him four or five years ago and told him marijuana helped his asthma. "I said, 'Look. This works for you. It's not toxic and your biggest problem with it is that it is illegal,'" Wenner said."Did the benefits that he enjoyed outweigh the risks of his consumption?" asked Adler's attorney, Michael Glenn."No question," Wenner said.The doctor said taking the oral prescription drug Marinol, which contains the same active component as marijuana, would be "useless" in treating an asthma attack because it takes 45 minutes to get into the blood stream. Wenner testified that marijuana is rarely highly addictive. He said most of his patients admit to having smoked marijuana at some point but most have stopped. "Marijuana doesn't get a life of its own," he said. Another witness, Keith Kamita, who issues certificates for medical marijuana on behalf of the state, testified that 471 patients across the state have the certificates.Adler, 49, testified that he would be unable to practice his religion without being able to consume cannabis.Judge Nakamura told Glenn and Deputy Prosecutors Kevin Hashizaki and Mel Fujino to submit their closing arguments in writing within one month of receiving transcripts of the first trial. The judge will then issue his verdict. If convicted, Adler faces up to 15 years in prison. Newshawk: Rev. Dennis Shields -- Hawaii-Tribune HeraldAuthor: Chris Loos, Tribune-HeraldPublished: January 25, 2002Copyright: 2002 Hawaii-Tribune HeraldContact: dave hilohawaiitribune.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute Clash in Big Island Pot Trial To Weigh Religion and Pot Call for Documenting Religious Aspect of Pot 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 27, 2002 at 14:53:54 PT
Thank You Jonathan
Please be careful! I worry myself sick when someone steps out in Faith. Maybe I'm only reacting to the current news article about Tom and Rollie but just please be careful.
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Comment #4 posted by Elfman_420 on January 27, 2002 at 14:43:35 PT
Ummm, but
Canono, director of the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, said the drug is addictive. She said the most prominent symptom of addiction is continued use despite negative consequences. "They would rather go to jail than quit smoking marijuana," she said. "That is a fairly high degree of addiction."People like this just honestly need to sit down and try it. Then they will say the same thing I did the first time I tried it: "Wow, this isn't really a big deal. Actually, it's pretty cool. WHY is this illegal?"I don't know what else to say.
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Comment #3 posted by DdC on January 27, 2002 at 14:20:26 PT
Awakening in the Land of Nod
Thank You and Bless You Rev Jonathan Adler!
Peace, Love and Liberty
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Comment #2 posted by Roger Christie on January 27, 2002 at 13:11:05 PT:
 The VIGOROUS exercise of our Freedoms 
Aloha from a rainforest on this smoking and snowcapped volcano,Congratulations Jon, for the pursuit of your happiness and the vigorous exercise of your cannabis religious rights! Get 'um, brah.I had the priviledge of being in court and witnessing the action...gavel to gavel. It was the best courtroom action I have EVER seen in my life! Michael Glenn of Honolulu defended Jon, and the principles involved for ALL of us.
{He can be reached at (808) 523-3079.}What can I say? He was a TOTALLY vigorous and bold and ballsy and loud and strong gladiator throughout the day! He had a 'take-no-prisoners' attitude and he slayed the prosecution witnesses, the prosecutors (the State had two up front and two in the gallery), and even the judge!!! He fought like a brilliant wildman for every motion and point. I LOVED it! I can say that I saw and heard the whole event. Wow! It was like the 'Scopes Monkey Trial' of cannabis evolution, to me. Amazing...Get this: a side issue came-up of monumental proportions. The State Narcotics Director, Keith Kamita, testified that Jon DID have a valid State of Hawaii med-pot card. He also testified that his job includes notifying the legislature every January of any changes that might affect the Scheduling of substances. Marijuana is STILL Schedule 1 here with "no recognized medical value" even though the legislature passed, and the Governor signed, the medical marijuana law in June of 2000. The law literally says that the State "recognizes the medical value of marijuana...". Keith Kamita was caught in one of the biggest cases of malfeasance I have ever witnessed. He has failed to notify the change of scheduling to the legal system! Thousands of patients
have been denied the healing benefit of cannabis because of his lack of action and his personal on the record!!! What a lesson. We have the science, the research, the history, the personal experience ALL on our side of this critical issue! We MUST win! We (I) must be stronger and more vocal and braver in defense of the free exercise of our freedom to enjoy the holy herb, the tree of life whose leaves shall heal all the nations. I once heard that there can be no land of the free unless first we are the home of the brave. Here's to it. Aloha.Roger ChristieThe Hawai'i Cannabis Ministry
"We use cannabis religiously." (temp. off-line)
(808) 961-0488 24/7 Ministry helpline 
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Comment #1 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on January 26, 2002 at 22:12:16 PT:
Compelling Interest my ***!
The State of Hawaii admits that our branch of the Religion of Jesus Church (East Hawaii) is legitimate, sincere and sincerely beieves that cannabis is mandated as sacrament by our church. Guess What! That is the three prong test espoused in State vs. Blake. The "Andrews Test!" We passed muster in court and all that remains is for the good Judge Nakamura to follow the law and the evidence or lack of it. We presented a clear case of religious exemption and have only to see if our Judge is a good one or wishes to be overturned on appeal. Either way I have cleared the hurdles and still am running....for Governor of Hawaii; that is.
My presumption of innocence is strengthened by the stipulation from the court and the lack of ANY compelling state interest. I am stoked. Even if the Judge contrives a reason to rule to prohibit my rights; it MUST be the "least restrictive means". All is well on the Big Island and here at our church. Peace to the newshawk; Rev. Dennis Shields, who lost his case and by doing so, cleared the way for our success. Thanks for the rude editorial in West Hawaii last week also Dennis. It cost me the Green Party nomination. They included a copy of your smear with their own nasty denial of my request for nomination. Thanks again for the blessing of your anger and lack of forgiveness. I was very happy as an independent and still will run hard and await the voters decision. Good Luck to all. Today was agreat harvest of sacrament. God takes good care of us. Amen 
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute
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