By Steve Elliott
Cannabis hero and Hawaii-based minister Roger Christie was sentenced on Monday to five years in prison and four years of supervised release, and his case has inspired both lawmakers and advocates who believe, as does Christie, that marijuana should be legalized.
Christie, 64, was held for 3 years and 9 months in Hawaii's Federal Detention Center without bail or trial on charges related to growing and distributing marijuana, reports Malia Zimmerman of Watchdog.org.
The minister says cannabis is a religious sacrament, and he openly sold marijuana in Hilo as part of the services at THC Ministry.
U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced Christie as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. He'll be credited for time served, and could be released within two months, according to Thomas Otake, his attorney.
Roger's wife, Sherryanne "Share" Christie, 62, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release, the maximum time allowed under federal law. She will likely begin her imprisonment in the next two months, around the time her husband is released.
The judge told the Christies that they could continue to participate in religious services, but would not "be allowed" to use marijuana or even to be in the presence of someone else using marijuana.