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Judge denies bid to drop charges against marijuana advocate

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 05:43 p.m. HST, Mar 29, 2013

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi refused to dismiss felony marijuana charges today against Big Island marijuana advocate Roger Christie.

The ruling clears the way for a trial in July against the 63-year-old man  who has already spent more than 2 1/2 years in federal custody.

Kobayashi issued an order saying the dismissal request is denied.  She said she will file  a more detailed order later.

Christie’s lawyer Thomas Otake argued that Christie’s constitutional rights are violated by the federal government categorizing marijuana as the most restricted drug.

But Kobayashi declined to be the first judge in the country to strike down marijuana’s federal classification as a Schedule I drug, a category that includes heroin.

Christie was arrested in July 2010 on three counts of conspiracy and related marijuana charges of growing and possessing 284 marijuana plants.

Each charge carries a prison term of five to 40 years.

Christie promoted the religious use of marijuana as a sacrament at his Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry in Hilo.

He repeatedly sought his release pending his trial, but federal judges here and the U. S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals turned down his requests, ruling that he poses a danger to the community.

Christie has become an icon among marijuana supporters and others who say he is unfairly prosecuted and detained because of his views.

Two resolutions calling for his release is pending in the state Senate.

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mcc wrote:
The government wastes so much money on marijuana. Legalize pot and use the money to go after meth heads.
on March 29,2013 | 06:04PM
kainalu wrote:
Tyranny, plain and simple.
on March 29,2013 | 06:12PM
tiki886 wrote:
The issue is not whether or not MJ should be legalized. In this case, MJ is being used as an excuse to practice religion.

Mormons would love to practice polygamy; Jehovah's Witnesses would love not to pay their income taxes; but they are law abiding citizens who expect their parishioners to obey the law of the land.

Roger Christie is not operating a "Church", he is operating a drug distribution center under the guise of religion.

Christie needs to stay in jail as long as it takes for him to realize MJ is not a "Sacrament", it is a ticket to PRISON!

on March 29,2013 | 06:31PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Thank You. Good thinking
on March 29,2013 | 09:24PM
Eradication wrote:
Thinking? Hardly. This is all about money, yes, but not for Roger Christie rather for the prosecuters office and the state who stands to lose a bunch of federal money if this is dismissed. While DUI manslaughter cases get i year time served and abuse cases go literally unpunished this man continues to be held, without a trial, for more than 2.5 years. I don't smoke pakalolo but I don't see it as the great evil either. For that matter, I think alcohol does more harm than pakalolo ever did. BTW, his church did no harm to anyone here in Hilo. Not like the zealots who embrace and advocate denying equal rights for some citizens because of their sexual preference. Hypocrits. This case will end up in a mistrial and wasted taxpayer money.
on March 29,2013 | 10:33PM
sloturle wrote:
he did it for the money EVERYONE KNOWS. if it wasn't for the greed.. he would be free.
on March 29,2013 | 07:12PM
noheawilli wrote:
Hey Leviathan, You have had the guy for 2 1/2 years with out a trial. Whats that 5th amendment? Do I hear fear of jury nullification?
on March 29,2013 | 08:52PM
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