WeedPress broke the news two years ago about Rastafarian Jamison Arend’s legal exemption to smoke cannabis while on probation. Earlier this month, following a Court of Appeals ruling, Jamison’s son, “J.J.M.A.,” had a confiscated cannabis pipe returned to him from police evidence after the Court ruled J.J.M.A. had a religious right to possess the pipe.
Said Jamison Arend via Facebook:
“I do believe it safe to assume that this would be the very first “marijuana” pipe to be recovered from Babylon. Get ready children!!! Give thanks and praises where they are due!!!” –Jamison Arend
Here is the pipe that was the subject of this case, now returned to J.J.M.A.:
“The district court concluded that Rastafari is a true religion and that J.J.M.A. has a sincerely held belief in the general tenets of the religion. But the district court held that J.J.M.A. failed to satisfy his burden of establishing a sincerely held belief that the Rastafari religion requires that he carry his pipe with him at all times. As a result, the district court did not reach the issue of whether the state met its burden of showing a compelling government interest in prohibiting the possession of drug paraphernalia. The district court adjudicated J.J.M.A. delinquent on all three charges. This appeal follows…
“Once an individual has demonstrated a sincerely held religious belief intended to be protected by section 16, the burden shifts to the state “to demonstrate that public safety cannot be achieved by proposed alternative means.” Hershberger II, 462 N.W.2d at 398. In order to carry this burden, the state must establish that the interest is overriding or compelling, and that the regulation uses the least-restrictive means to accomplish the state’s interest. Hill-Murray Fed’n of Teachers, 487 N.W.2d at 865.
“We noted in Pedersen that the state could not rely solely “on the legislature’s enactment of statutes prohibiting the possession of marijuana to defeat a claim under article I, section 16.” Id. at 377. Even if we assume a compelling interest in enforcing controlled-substance laws, the state must provide “evidence that its compelling interest in 11 public safety could not be achieved by less restrictive means.” Id. In this case, the state has not demonstrated that applying the drug-paraphernalia law to an individual with a genuinely held belief in possessing a cannabis pipe is the least-restrictive means of enforcing controlled-substance laws.
Reversed.” —Full ruling available here
Supreme Court order denying review of Court of Appeals decision is available here.
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