Los Angeles, USA - Leaders of a Rastafarian temple/alleged pot shop in Hollywood sued the city this week following its crackdown on medical marijuana retailers: The suit claims that the temple leaders were wrongfully arrested in June and that the sect is not a dispensary but rather a gathering place where members use marijuana in the name of a, er, higher power: God and religion.
The City Attorney's office sent letters to most of the dispensaries in town warning them they'd have to close down under a stricter city ordinance. Apparently Liberty Bell Temple II was targeted as a pot shop and some of its leaders were subsequently arrested when the city determined it had not shut down as ordered.
R. Edward Forchion, Charquant Leyou, and the Liberty Bell Temple II itself filed suit in Superior Court alleging that the city has infringed on their right, without due process under the law, to practice their religion.
"Liberty Bell II operated as a Rastafarian temple where marijuana was used as a sacrament,'' the suit states.
The suit asserts that Rastafarians consider marijuana a sacrament. Plaintiffs asked for a court order to prevent the city from interfering in this higher calling.
No comment has come so far from the City Attorney's office, but it previously alleged the temple was doing business as a out-of-compliance pot shop called House of Kush. It was raided June 14, and six people were taken into custody.
If weed is a religious necessity for the Liberty Bell Temple II massive, so be it. Leaders and followers can always get a prescription. But selling it isn't part of this religious freedom, right?