By Steve Elliott
A member of the The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry in Hilo has filed a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of his pastor, Rev. Roger Christie, who has been held without bail by the federal government as a pretrial detainee for more than 3 years.
Mike Ruggles, 56, a resident of Mountain View on the Big Island, filed the petition with the United States District Court in Honolulu on July 23.
Rev. Christie was arrested by federal authorities on July 8, 2010, charged with distributing
marijuana to members of his congregation. He has been held without bail at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center for more than 36 months.
“Roger was a pillar of the community and he is sorely missed at this time,” said Ruggles. “Since Roger has been gone, meth use and violent crime have gotten worse, not better. Roger’s influence on the community was more effective than 50 cops on the street.”
Christie founded his Cannabis Ministry in the early 2000s. The Ministry operated openly on the second floor of the historic Moses building in downtown Hilo, right across from Hilo Bay.
Federal authorities conducted an extensive investigation of the Ministry beginning in 2008.
Rev. Christie will argue for his right to base his defense on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act at a hearing scheduled for July 29th at 10:30 a.m. and July 30 at 10:00 a.m. in the Honolulu Federal Building Courtroom of U.S. District Judge Kobayashi.
“Our country was founded on religious freedom,” said Ruggles. “The government wants to shut down his religion. Whose religion is next?”
By Steve Elliott
Starting next month, Google searches for "chemotherapy nausea" will turn up an ad for medical marijuana, courtesy of the charitable arm of Google. Last week the internet search giant donated $120,000 worth of AdSense advertising to a Michigan medical marijuana advocacy group.
As part of its gift, Michigan Compassion will be promoting medical marijuana through the plain-text ads that pop up just to the right side of Google search results, reports Eleazar David Melendez of The Huffington Post.
Michigan Compassion doesn't sell medicinal cannabis, but instead connects patients with growers. The group said the ads will appear alongside searches likely to be made by cancer chemotherapy patients.
"The goal is to link the negative effects of chemotherapy and the positive effects of cannabis," said Amish Parikh, vice president of Michigan Compassion.
Google had previously maintained a strict policy against hosting ads for marijuana-related searches, even medical-marijuana searches. But its new friendliness towards the cause fits in with the culture of Silicon Valley, where tech companies and their employees have been quietly contributing to cannabis activism, according to attorney Lauren Vazquez, who is involved in the legalization movement.
"They're not the ones coming to the city council meetings to protest, but they quietly send in their donations," Vazquez said. "And they're definitely consuming the cannabis."