SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The shooting of two California deputies responding to a disturbance at a Rastafarian marijuana farm is sparking debate over whether churches should be protected from drug prosecutions.

Religious organizations throughout California have been growing marijuana for ceremonial purposes for years — and have been losing in court for just as long.

ALSO READ: US Senator Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana Nationwide

That’s because there is no religious exemption to state and federal marijuana bans, and there won’t be any special treatment when California legalizes pot next year.

That’s unlikely to stop growers like Heidi and Charles Lepp, a Sacramento couple affiliated with the church where Monday’s shooting occurred.

ALSO READ: Is California Growing Too Much Marijuana?

They say they’re legally entitled to grow without a license because marijuana is the sacrament of their Rastafarian church.
The courts and state don’t agree.

 

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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