July 9, 2018

First Church of Cannabis's RFRA Lawsuit Dismissed in Marion Circuit Court

First Church of Cannabis Founder Bill Levin, gestures during the church's first service in Indianapolis on July 1, 2015. - AP Photo/Michael Conroy

First Church of Cannabis Founder Bill Levin, gestures during the church's first service in Indianapolis on July 1, 2015.

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

A judge dismissed a lawsuit by an Indianapolis church that wants to use marijuana as a sacrament.

The First Church of Cannabis opened in July 2015 and sought protection under Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The recent Marion Circuit Court ruling found the state’s desire to prevent marijuana use is compelling enough, and unrestricting enough, to dismiss the lawsuit.

The ruling reads, “The FCOC [First Church of Cannabis] can continue to be [a] church without giving marijuana as holy sacrament and selling in [the] gift shop.”

After the ruling Attorney General Curtis Hill said, “When the state has justifiable and compelling interests at stake, no one can evade the law simply by describing their illegal conduct as an exercise of religious faith.”

Church founder Bill Levin replied to Hill’s statement in a tweet, saying “Cannabis is safer than Curtis Hill.”

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