Rev. Roger Christie in happier days, as a free man in 2010
As Cannabis Becomes Legal in Colorado and Washington, Hawaiian Minister Roger Christie Remains Locked Up
As more Americans demand legalization of cannabis, thousands of prisoners, including Reverend Roger Christie, are still locked up on nonviolent marijuana charges. Since July 8, 2010 Rev. Christie has been behind bars without bail awaiting trial on federal charges of marijuana possession and trafficking, despite being a Christian minister with a state sanctioned license as a “Cannabis Sacrament Minister.”
Rev. Christie’s case is unique because his use of marijuana was for religious purposes and, from his perspective, should be protected under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Because cannabis has an ancient history of ritual usage in many religions and cultures including Christianity, Christie has decided not to plea his way out of jail.
Rev. Roger Christie in 2007
His perspective is couched in a religious context of medicinal cannabis as a tool in healing the sick which to deny anyone is counter to morality. Rev. Christie also connects the cannabis sacrament to the ancient anointings and burnt offerings referenced in the bible.
This Christmas is Rev. Christie’s third behind bars at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center. Despite seven attempts at bail, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi has denied Christie’s request to be released to his home in Hilo or to a halfway house in Kalihi.
Tommy Otake, Rev. Christie’s attorney, said his client was at first disappointed by the ruling, but then decided to remain positive and take the most recent bail denial as a “blessing.” Rev. Christie is committed to the Christian faith and to religious freedom for all. He is continuing to minister while in prison and is using his time as an opportunity to help other inmates.
“Reverend Christie is a peaceful man who should be granted release to prepare for trial,” Otake said. “Reverend Christie looks forward to the day he will regain his religious freedom through due process.”
After many court dates repeatedly being set back, Christie is currently awaiting trial now scheduled for March 12, 2013.
For more information on his court case please go to http://the-last-marijuana-trial.com/.