leslie kobayashi

Hawaii: Prosecution of Marijuana Minister Roger Christie Ignites Legalization Drive


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

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.

Hawaii: Marijuana Advocate Roger Christie Enters Guilty Plea After Three Years Behind Bars


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

After spending the last three-and-a-half years in federal prison with no bail, Reverend Roger Christie, the founder of a Hawaii-based ministry that promoted marijuana use as a religious sacrament, pleaded guilty on Friday in federal court to possession of almost 300 cannabis plants, but reserved the right to appeal his case based on religious grounds.

Christie's case has received national attention, with cannabis advocates saying his pre-trial detention with no bail is unconstitutional. Many called him a political prisoner in the War On Drugs.

Christie, who founded The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry (THC Ministry), entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana and two counts of failing to file tax returns, for the years 2008 and 2009, reports John Burnett at the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Sentencing is scheduled for January 22 at 2:45 p.m., before U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi. Christie faces up to 20 years' imprisonment on the marijuana charge, with a mandatory minimum of five years. The maximum term on each tax offense is one year.

Christie will forfeit is Wainaku apartment as part of the plea deal. He will also forfeit the $21,494 confiscated by federal agents during a raid in 2010.

Other marijuana-related charges against Christie were dropped as part of the plea deal.

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