The fairly ridiculous First Church of Cannabis in Indianapolis has been recognized as a tax-exempt religious organization by the IRS, a good omen for the holy shamans in their organization, though not by any means a guarantee that they can toke without fear of criminal persecution. The news comes after the church was also recognized by Indiana’s controversial, anti-LGBT practice-enabling Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Meanwhile, there’s the case of the arrested marijuana priestess in Nebraska. The state has joined Oklahoma in a lawsuit against Colorado for the legalization of recreational marijuana. To say that Nebraskans aren’t as keen on being progressive would be an understatement. When Brenda Hines was caught running a Christian church that was based on marijuana in the small farm town of York, the reaction was swift.
Hines was charged with three counts of possession for sale, maintaining a place for drug trafficking, and possessing drug money. She was convicted at the end of May 2015 of all charges except for being in the possession of cash.
Her defense was unique. Hines stated her Christian faith allowed her to use marijuana in a state that didn’t allow it. She either sold or gave marijuana to her church members, called it their sacrament, and even her ex-husband testified under oath that Hines was the “priestess of the temple.”
Hines refused to say who her supplier happened to be because she knew that the drug-related activities would be potentially considered illegal. Then she quoted Bible verses on the stand as her defense.
Office John Wilmes, according to the York News Times, actually opened evidence bags of marijuana in open court to show jurors that there were “many forms of marijuana and pieces of paraphernalia” throughout the church.
Hines was reportedly helping others prepare for an upcoming apocalypse. Now she is facing a possible sentence of 65 years in prison under charges that may have not even been brought in legalized states Colorado or Washington.