Does the prohibition of cannabis restrict religious freedom? Marijuana and the First Amendment

By: Simon Eddisbury
The First Amendment guarantees American citizens the right to practice their faith without the fear of prejudice. Yet, the dozen or so religious groups whose beliefs involve the sacramental use of marijuana can often find themselves on the wrong side of the law. In Christian churches, wine is often consumed as part of the service. Alcohol is arguably a far more harmful substance than marijuana, so does banning the use of cannabis in religious ceremonies constitute religious discrimination? I caught up with Carl Olsen, a marijuana activist and member of a mansion of Rastafarianism known as the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, to find out just how difficult it can be to practice a religion that holds cannabis sacred in a country where its use has been prohibited.
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