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AG Curtis Hill praises court for rejecting argument that ‘Right to Try’ negates laws against marijuana use

August 29, 2018
By

curtis-hill attorney general indianaAttorney General Curtis Hill Wednesday praised a Marion Circuit Court decision rejecting an argument by the First Church of Cannabis (FCOC) that their case should be reopened in light of the Right to Try Act – legislation approved this year that allows terminally ill patients to try investigational treatments.

The court already had rejected the FCOC’s attempts to gain exemption from anti-marijuana statutes on the basis of religious freedom. This month, the small group of marijuana enthusiasts filed a Motion to Correct Error with the court seeking to keep alive their efforts to freely smoke pot.

The plaintiffs began calling themselves a church in 2015 in order to mock Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which they opposed, and to argue for the right to use marijuana as a matter of religious liberty. On this basis, the group filed a lawsuit against state and local officials seeking relief from Indiana’s anti-marijuana statutes.

In July, the Marion Superior Court concluded that the “church” and its members cannot use “marijuana as a holy sacrament” or sell marijuana in their gift shop. This month – in response to the FCOC’s efforts to somehow use the Right to Try Act to its advantage – the court held its ground.

“Under the Right to Try Act, an ‘eligible patient’ means an individual that has exhausted all approved treatment options and is unable to participate in clinical trials and has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or condition,” the court stated. “Indiana’s compelling interest in preventing more general use in the name of public health and safety exists even if the Right to Try Act may permit certain eligible residents of Indiana to use marijuana for narrow and limited medical purposes under the direction and supervision of a physician.”

Attorney General Hill said it’s high time the FCOC stop wasting the court’s time.

“The First Church of Cannabis is determined to twist legitimate legal protections into licenses to violate laws against the possession, sale and use of marijuana,” Attorney General Hill said. “These statutes are designed to protect the health, safety and well-being of Hoosiers statewide, and I appreciate the court’s steadfastness in defending their validity.”