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|—Statement of beliefs|
The THC Ministry proclaims itself to be a religion that believes that cannabis is a sacrament. In their opinion, cannabis is "the original sacrament of Hebrew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Rasta and more, and fulfills the prophesies to ‘raise up for them a plant of renown…" It was founded in 2000 by Roger Christie of Hawaii, who, while serving in the United States Army in 1970, became "became galvanized to action by the wrongful nature of war," successfully fought for conscientious objector status, and became a marijuana activist. The ministry claims to have affiliates in many states and countries. The "THC" of the ministry's name refers to Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient of cannabis.
The primary purpose of the ministry appears to be providing a loophole in drug laws, by ordaining members as "practitioners" and thus presenting them with a "defense to prosecution" in terms of (one assumes) US law. Their web site only points to Hawaii's definition of the law, as well as that state's definition of "practitioner."
For $250, you can purchase a "sanctuary kit", which includes "Sanctuary Plaques, ID Cards, Sacramental Plant tags, THC Ministry Cannabis and Religion Guide" whatever they may be. They also say "The best religious defense to prosecution for any marijuana charge is based in your own sincerity and in the legitimacy of your religious organization," then add the handy caveat, "The sincerity part is up to you!" However, a Colorado judge saw otherwise, convicted a man who tried to claim cannabis use as a sacrament and fined him $450.
The secondary purpose of the ministry appeared to be growing large amounts of marijuana in Hawaii. In 2010, Christie and 13 others associated with the THC Ministry were busted by the Feds and charged with marijuana possession and trafficking. Over five million dollars worth of marijuana plants were seized in the bust. Christie was convicted in 2014 and served four years in jail.
- History, Beliefs and Practices of the THC Ministry. thc-ministry.org.
- Roger Christie: A Promotion From God. Profile from High Times magazine.
- Definition of "Practitioner", thc-ministry.org.
- Colo. man who claims pot as sacrament is convicted. Archived from the original at 9news.com, 9 March 2010.
- Marisa Yamane, New details in the major marijuana bust on the Big Island. Archived from the original at khon2.com, 9 July 2010.
- THC Minister Roger Christie sentenced. bigislandvideonews.com, 30 April 2014.