comscore U.S. appeals court upholds Hawaii pot ministry convictions | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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U.S. appeals court upholds Hawaii pot ministry convictions

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This Sept. 27, 2013 photo shows Sherryanne Christie, center, wife of Hawaii Cannabis Ministry founder Roger Christie, talking to her husband’s attorney, Thomas Otake, left, and her attorney, Lynn Panagakos, outside federal court in Honolulu.

A federal appeals court is upholding the convictions of two Hawaii Cannabis Ministry leaders found guilty of having 300 pot plants as part of a distribution ring.

Roger Christie and his wife Sherryanne Christie appealed their convictions on religious grounds, saying their ministry used marijuana as a sacrament.

Today’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the federal government had a compelling interest in preventing marijuana from being diverted to non-members and being provided to minors.

The ruling noted the government may force a religious objector to comply with the law if doing so furthers a compelling government interest and there isn’t a less restrictive way to accomplish that goal.

Attorneys for the Christies didn’t immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

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