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Judge to rule on religious freedom defense in marijuana case

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:59 p.m. HST, Jul 29, 2013

A federal judge indicated she will rule by Wednesday whether she or the jury should decide the issue of Big Island cannabis advocate Roger Christie raising the religious freedom defense at his marijuana trial.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi heard arguments today by federal prosecutors who want her to rule that the defense under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn’t apply.

Christie’s lawyer argued that the jury should decide whether the defense warrants an acquittal of Christie’s marijuana charges.

Christie, who headed The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry in Hilo, is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 8.

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