Every religion has sacred materials that make up many of their rituals, but one churches use of marijuana had a Colorado man before a judge monday.
Jason Wimler had pulled over to fix a broken windshield wiper on I-25 on December 22, 2009. He and his girlfriend were on their way to her parents home for a Christmas celebration. When a state trooper, who pulled over to see if he needed assistance, smelled fresh marijuana coming from the car they searched the vehicle. They found less than an ounce of the controlled substance.
Wimler, 22, is an ordained minister for The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, and told the trooper the marijuana was a religious sacrament to be used during the Christmas holiday. He was cited for possession and sent on his way.
Monday, Wimler, his girlfriend, attorney, and two representatives of THC Ministry were back in Pueblo for a final court hearing prior to his trial. His attorney out of Denver, Danyel Joffe, has taken his case pro bono because it touches on a subject she feels strongly about. The freedom to practice religion without discrimination.
Joffe says, the state allows for peyote to be used as part of religious rituals and that cannabis should be afforded the same exception.
The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry founder Roger Christie attended the hearing, and explained one way in which the controlled substance is used during church services. The cannabis is added as an ingredient in a topical oil used to anoint parishioners. "We think it's the old testament recipe that God gave to Moses, and that it was to be used throughout all the generations. Three hebrew dictionaries that I own say that the fragrant cane, in that recipe is actually cannabis," says Christie.
Meanwhile, Wimler's bid to have a special jury instruction that could have acquitted him was denied by Judge Steven Fieldman. And instead of paying the $100 dollar fine, Wimler and his attorney decided to move forward with the trial so that an appeal on the matter could be made to a higher court.
Wimler's trail is scheduled for July 8th.