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AG Hill Calls Church Of Cannabis Lawsuit A Legal Stunt

First Church of Cannabis leader Bill Levin.

Photo: Harry Wagner

First Church of Cannabis leader Bill Levin.

Attorney General Curtis Hill says the First Church of Cannabis and its lawsuit against the state are a political crusade turned legal stunt.

The First Church of Cannabis and its leader Bill Levin want to use Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, to clear a path to legal marijuana use by the church’s followers. RFRA creates a legal standard that says the government must have a compelling reason to restrict someone’s religious practice and do so in the least burdensome way possible.

In a recent court filing, Attorney General Curtis Hill argues the lawsuit, filed in 2015, was never serious. He says Levin and other marijuana legalization activists opposed RFRA and used the lawsuit to mock the law and, he says, religion in general.

And Hill says even if Church of Cannabis is sincere in its beliefs, the state still has a compelling interest to prevent people from using marijuana. The Church has said it’s tough to make that argument when other states have legalized the drug.

The case is set for a court hearing in March.

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