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Hawaii island minister to ask for release in marijuana case

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The lawyer representing the founder of Hawaii Cannabis Ministry will ask a federal judge today to release his client to a halfway house.

A federal magistrate judge in June ordered Roger Christie to remain behind bars without bail until his trial on marijuana charges. He has been held in prison since July 2010.

Court-appointed attorney Thomas Otake says he’s appealing that decision to a sitting federal judge. Otake is expected to request Christie be released on bond to a halfway house during a hearing this afternoon before Judge Leslie Kobayashi.

Federal prosecutors allege the Hilo resident led a major cannabis growing, processing and distribution ring. Authorities contend his 2010 arrest put a major dent in the Big Island’s marijuana trade.

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