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Roger Christie Scheduled for Court MondayJoy Graves Salem-News.com
Reverend Christie faces anywhere from 5 to 40 years in federal prison, as does his wife who also faces the same charges, though she remains free pending her trial.
(COTTAGE GROVE) - Founder of The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry, Roger Christie, has been held in Honolulu federal prison without bail for exactly 1,117 days as of today, on charges related to alleged cannabis possession and distribution.
Three federal judges claim that Christie â€“ Reverend of THC Ministry and one of Hawaiiâ€™s strongest advocates of cannabis â€“ is a "danger to society" and have detained him since the 8th of July 2010. They have yet to hold trial.
Senator Russell Ruderman (D), who has known Reverend Christie for over 25 years, has let it be known that he strongly disagrees, saying in regard to Christie, "He is one of the most peaceful persons I know. To anyone who knows him, the claim that he is a danger to the community is absurd."
Christie remains detained, only allowed to see his attorney and government officials. In fact, Reverend Christie has not been allowed to see his own wife for any kind of visitation for over a year now.
Mike Ruggles, 56, a resident of Mountain View on the Big Island, filed a petition of writ of habeas corpus with the United States District Court in downtown Honolulu on the 23rd of July on behalf of his minister, Reverend Christie. "Since Roger has been gone, meth use and violent crime has gotten worse, not better. Rogerâ€™s influence on the community was more effective than 50 cops on the street." Ruggles told local reporters during a brief interview regarding his filing. "Our country was founded on religious freedom, the government wants to shut down his religion. Whose religion is next?"
Reverend Christie, along with his wife, Share Christie, and 12 other church members, whom are now referred to as the "Green 14" around the islands, were all arrested in 2010 during the church's raid, and were each charged with the sale and possession of cannabis, but only Roger Christie has been held in federal custody every since.
"The government is trying to put us at a distinct disadvantage denying me bail and bond and making me into a â€˜political prisonerâ€™ even though I have a clean criminal record," Reverend Christie reportedly told the "HawaiiReporter.com" in an email.
The state Department of Health granted Christie license number 00-313, which allowed him to perform marriages as a "cannabis sacrament" minister. Reverend Christie has been a practicing sacramental cannabis minister on the Big Island of Hawaii for more than a decade, but what many, including the feds have seemed to overlook, Reverend Christie is not only the founding reverend of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministries, but also a Reverend of the Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii as well.
Here is an excerpt from their main web page under the Q&A section:
What plants can be used in a certified Native American Ceremony?
A: There are literally millions of sacred plants traditionally used by Native Americans and other indigenous peoples in Ceremony. In your personal Religious Ceremony, according to the law, you can use any part of the plant, animal, mineral, or other material that has a Traditional Practice. This creates powerful legal protection for you as a Medicine Person.
For example: Alcoholic beverages have been used by all cultures throughout history. The Catholic Church is allowed by law to give under age members the alcoholic Sacramental Wine when they are performing a Ceremony. This activity outside of a Church Ceremony would be illegal. So even though alcoholic beverages can be abused and can cause harm, because of the traditional practice an alcoholic beverage used as a Sacrament would fall under the classification as a bona fide Ceremony. Such is our protection.
What that little tid-bit means, is that the feds in Hawaii state are currently breaking their very own law, because the Oklevueha Native American Church is in fact the Only church in the nation allowed not only the right to possess as well as use cannabis sacramentally, but in fact are federally sanctioned to use ALL sacramental herbs and plants, thousands of them according to the Oklevueha Native American Church's website Without fear of ANY sort of legal consequence, state nor federally.
Thus far, Reverend Christieâ€™s 1,116-day incarceration has cost taxpayers, who have paid $116 per day â€” or $139,456.00 to keep him jailed, as it costs $116.00 per day to have him there.
In spite of the fact that some of the Hawaii marijuana growers being charged have already pleaded guilty and several of Christieâ€™s co-defendants are also believed to be considering plea agreements, Christie maintains that he is innocent and protected under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA), as he argues that in his case, marijuana is used as a religious sacrament. In fact, he believed so strongly that he was protected under RFRA, he operated as a cannabis minister openly in Hilo for 10 years.
Roger Christie was born on June 15, 1949, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, yet was raised and schooled in New Jersey during the 1950s and 1960s. Reverend Christie graduated high school in 1967 and proceeded to college for two years when he obtained an Associates Degree in Science. From there, Reverend Christie pursued flight training school in Miami, Florida and earned his Commercial Pilot Certification.
In 1970 Reverend Christie enlisted into the US Army with his MOS(Mission of Service)being a "G2 Intelligence Analyst" which he was trained and graduated at the Fort Holabird, a known US Spy School in Maryland, but short-after Reverend Christie found himself in opposition with the military and political missions in Viet Nam Conflict and elsewhere across the globe during that time period, so when Christie received orders for deployment into Viet Nam, Christie refused his orders to serve yet amazingly received an "Honorable Discharge" from military service on the grounds of being a "Conscientious Objector".
He then focused his sights toward attempting to overturn the countries drug policy standing. In 1986, Reverend Christie became a resident of the Big Island of Hawaii. He was a co-founder of the "Hawaii Hemp Council" in the year of 1990 and, also that year Reverend Christie, along with Aaron Anderson and Dwight Kondo, founded what they called "The Hawaiian Hemp Company".
By the following year, Christie & his associates had one of the first retail cannabis "hemp" shops in the entire world. In 1996, he ran for a seat on the Hawaii County Council but ultimately was rejected, but he didn't give up. In June of 2000, Reverend Christie was ordained as a minister by the "Religious of Jesus Church" through the Universal Life Church. He then received his license to perform marriages in the State of Hawaii as a "Cannabis Sacrament" Minister and founded The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry (THC Ministry) that same year. In 2004, Reverend Christie again took a shot and ran for Mayor of Hawaii county but ultimately failed in the election yet again, so since hasn't ran for any kind of political office or position.
Christie ordained Seeva Cherms of California, whom was a long time cannabis freedom fighting activist, number 1 assistant to "The Emperor of Hemp", Mr. Jack Herer, and later to become the first female co-petitioner on any ballot initiative ever, making history by the way with the "California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative" (CCHHI) created by Herer and filed in California in 2008.
By doing so, Christie parented "The United Cannabis Ministry" (UCM) of California which was later founded by Cherms and her husband Reverend Steven Cherms, in the year of 2005. I note this because this reporter was ordained under the Cherms and the UCM 2009 and has since made them parents to my church, the "Soldiers of Jah Ministries" in Oregon.
According to the federal court papers on file regarding this mess, the government claims Reverend Christie operated an estimated "$1 million dollar network" thru the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, according to them, selling "one-half pound of cannabis to 60 to 70 customers each day" for "donation" with an approximate street value, "$400 per ounce".
The government seized nearly 2,300 marijuana plants at the THC Ministries sanctuary garden, which were claimed by congregation members, and an estimated 33 pounds of cannabis sacrament, as well as $55,000 in cash, nine weapons, and four individual properties owned and or leased by Christie and or the church, according to court records, one of which this reporter knows first hand, was leased to both Reverend Christie and Reverend Seeva Cherms at the time.
If convicted, Reverend Christie faces anywhere from 5 to 40 years in federal prison, as does his wife who also faces the same charges, though she remains free pending her trial. Her husband has tried, but has had bail options rejected a total of 7 times from the federal courts of Hawaii so far. Reverend Christie is scheduled for two hearings, one for tomorrow, July 29th at 10:30 a.m. and July 30 at 10:00 a.m. in the Honolulu Federal Building Courtroom in front of U.S. District Judge Kobayashi.
________________________________________Joy Maxine Graves, published author, cannabis reporter and photographer is best known for her involvement as a Cannabis Freedom Fighting Activist. Joy has shown herself to be quite the trooper when it comes to fighting for as well as defending Truth, Justice & Honor, for protecting the "weaker guy", and for standing her ground when faced with nothing but hate and diversity. As the #2 most beloved personal "Jack's Girl" to the Emperor of Hemp himself (Jack Herer, RIP) for more than 13 years, which is how Salem-News.com encountered her by the way, we soon-after couldn't help but to noticed her flare for photography as well as her knack with people, and she has become a valuable part of the Salem-News team.
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