US appeals court upholds Hawaii pot ministry convictions - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

US appeals court upholds Hawaii pot ministry convictions

Roger Christie (Image: Hawaii News Now/file) Roger Christie (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (AP) - A federal appeals court is upholding the convictions of two Hawaii Cannabis Ministry leaders found guilty of having 300 pot plants as part of a distribution ring.

Roger Christie and his wife Sherryanne Christie appealed their convictions on religious grounds, saying their ministry used marijuana as a sacrament.

Tuesday's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the federal government had a compelling interest in preventing marijuana from being diverted to non-members and being provided to minors.

The ruling noted the government may force a religious objector to comply with the law if doing so furthers a compelling government interest and there isn't a less restrictive way to accomplish that goal.

Attorneys for the Christies didn't immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by Frankly