So...it's not OK to violate federal law regarding marijuana because of religious belief, because the federal government has a compelling interest in stopping marijuana use, and it would put law enforcement/courts in the difficult position of determining the sincerity of a person's religious belief.
But it is OK to violate federal law regarding non-discrimination because of religious belief, despite the government having a compelling interest in stopping discrimination, and despite that putting law enforcement/courts in the difficult position of determining the sincerity of a person's religious belief.
Back in the 1970s a “church” also tried to claim marijuana was a sacrament. The courts struck it down. The courts are not stupid. Whether it’s claiming an illegal substance is a protected religious liberty or a state-sponsored moment of silence is NOT a prayer, the courts see through the bullshit.
I cannot set up a church and claim that LSD is an essential part of a religious mind-altering experience. However, Native Americans who have used peyote for centuries do have the right to use it as they did not purposefully design their worship to circumvent the law.
Neither can I, if I’m a state entity (like a school teacher), require folks to bow their heads for a minute of silence and claim that I’m not sponsoring a prayer. The SCOTUS ruled in the 1980s that if it looked like a prayer and acted like a prayer, it was a prayer. It seems schools systems in the Bible-belt were also trying to circumvent the law.
So, to the good folks in Florida. Go enjoy your weed, privately. My guess is the question will be moot in a few years.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2018 01:56PM by BYU Boner.
In Employment Division v. Smith in 1990, the supreme court held that the state can punish a Native American for using peyote in religious ceremonies. The logic was that belief is protected but not practice--assuming the practice is prohibited generally and not aimed at religion.
The question was whether Oregon could penalize peyote users. The court held that yes, Oregon could.
That does not mean other states MUST penalize religious users. Now that I reread the decision, it explicitly suggests that the plaintiffs appeal to the Oregon legislature to change the law to permit the use of peyote for religious purposes.
So the Employment Division means that states may individually choose to permit the religious use of peyote or to disallow all use of peyote. The latter restriction, however, must be across the board and not directed at the religious.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/10/2018 02:15PM by Lot's Wife.
You are correct with the Employment Division case, but it appears various states have passed legislation making it legal, with various conditions, for people within that state. Utah has not passed any legislation for our Native Americans (big surprise) but Texas has for their Native peoples.