Here an interesting story our of Phoenix... The Arizona Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether there is a religious right to possess marijuana.
Without comment, the justices granted to hear Daniel Hardesty's argument that the First Amendment protections of free exercise of religion entitle him to use marijuana as a "sacrament'' of his church. Both a trial judge and the state Court of Appeals rejected those arguments.
If the high (snicker, snicker) court decides otherwise, it would be the first time in Arizona that judges have concluded there is a legal defense for those who use marijuana.
Hardesty was arrested in 2005 after being stopped by police while driving in Yavapai County.
At trial, Hardesty testified he had been a practicing member of the Church of Cognizance since 1993. A church official said that the religion, founded in 1991, is based on "neo-Zoroastrian tenets'' and that marijuana provides a connection to the divine mind and spiritual enlightenment.
There is a precedent for what Hardesty wants.
Arizona courts have allowed the possession of peyote for religious use by the Native American Church. But Weisberg said that is different, as prosecutors in that case never showed that peyote was addictive or being used in quantities harmful to the health of the participants.
Weisberg said the long and continuous use of peyote by a "discreet and well-defined group'' makes it different than drug use claims by other religions.
Yes, this is stupid, but if it takes the guise of religion to break down the criminalization of pot, then maybe, finally, there is something that religion is useful for...