A California Church Using Marijuana for ‘Religious Ceremony,’ is Suing Police

Following a raid by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, the Church of Hundred Harmonies in California, which uses marijuana part of its religious services, is suing the police department, ABC reported on Thursday.

“(The plant) helps our mind, it helps our spirituality, it helps create inner peace, and we want to spread that. We want people to become aware of what this plant is doing for our community,” Alanna Reeves, the president of the Association of Sacramental Ministries, said.  The association is made up of cannabis churches including Hundred Harmonies.

This is not the first time it was raided. The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department raided the Hundred Harmonies facility last November. According to law enforcement, the churches are operating as unlicensed dispensaries.

“Its activities are protected under the California constitution, the U.S. Constitution, and federal law. Laws that place a substantial burden on the free exercise of their religion will not be upheld,” said Attorney Anthony Bettencourt, who is representing the church.

“It’s just a really positive movement, and people are trying to put this dark cloud over it when really this is something that we believe in, and we shouldn’t be persecuted because this is something that we are realizing helps people,” Reeves added.

The church is seeking monetary damages and an injunction to stop any future raids.