Monday December 9, 2013
Reverend Healer Carl Olsen, a True Cannabis Freedom Fighting WarriorJoy Graves Cannabis De-Classified
Cannabis has been used as a sacrament for thousands of years. Why would now be any different?
(COTTAGE GROVE, Ore.) - Many moons ago, you may have heard of the "Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church" - this reporter became a member back at the age of 14. It is a renown church formed in Jamaica but that began spreading it's membership throughout the US in the 1980's.
Reverend Carl Olsen is a priest of the church, and is the first minister to be sentenced to federal prison for the promotion of cannabis as sacrament in religion.
Olsen admits that when he was stopped by the West Liberty police in May of 1978, that indeed he was transporting approximately 129 pounds of cannabis, aka "Marijuana" along with him, but, his defense that he was in possession of the cannabis legally because it is protected by the first amendment's guarantee of an individuals right to exercise religious freedom and that cannabis is his sacrament of choice.
Testimony at his trial revealed that the nature of his religious organization involves and emphasizes the sacramental use of cannabis. This of course was long before Rev, Roger Christie of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministries had obtained and then later released the proof that cannabis is in fact a very key substance when it comes to religious communion and practitioning.
Olsen's testimony further revealed that church members do in fact use cannabis both continuously as well as publicly as the need deemed fitting and that nothing was ultimately wrong with that as far as the almighty was concerned, that it was in fact instructed for them to do according to the bible.
Olsen admitted to smoking his cannabis while driving, and to using the natural growing herb a few hours before testifying in his second trial regarding this incident. But here nor there, he asked in his appeal to afford his religious use of cannabis "Unlimited constitutional protection", which ultimately the federal court did not do, landing Olsen into the Iowa federal prison on a 35 year long sentence.
"The amount of peyote seized and analyzed by the DEA between 1980 and 1987 was 19.4 pounds. The amount of marijuana seized and analyzed by the DEA between 1980 and 1987 was 15,302,468.7 pounds" according to the DEA as their excuse for throwing the book at Olsen and the church, though realistically these numbers have no direct indication as to how much was intended for religious purpose.
Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1307.31 which Mr. Olsen cited "Constitutional principles relating to the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and Equal Protection" was the basis for his request in his appeal, but in rebuttal, The Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel wrote this when reviewing the Native American Church's exemption:
"The special treatment of Indians under our law does not stem from the unique features of Indian religion or culture. With respect to these matters, Indians stand on no different footing than do other minorities in our pluralistic society. Rather, the special treatment of Indians is grounded in their unique status as political entities, formerly sovereign nations preexisting the Constitution, which still retain a measure of inherent sovereignty over their peoples unless divested by federal statute or by necessary implication of their dependent status." (See United States v. Wheeler, 435 U.S. 313, 55 L. Ed. 2d 303, 98 S. Ct. 1079 (1978).
As a result of this position, it was noted that: "An exemption for Indian religious use of peyote would not be grounded in the unique political status of Indians. Instead, the exemption would be based on the special culture and religion of the Indians. In this respect, Indian religion cannot be treated differently than other religions similarly situated without violation of the Establishment Clause," according to prosecutors.
According to Olsen, "Were the DEA to consider a cannabis exemption, equal protection (and/or the establishment clause...) would indeed appear to command that it do so evenhandedly. The DEA would have no warrant to contain the exemption to a single church or religion."
"Even if we were to credit Olsen's equal protection argument or the dissent's portrayal of it in terms of the establishment clause, the remedy Olsen requests hardly follows. Faced with the choice between invalidation and extension of any controlled-substances for religious exemption, which would the political branches choose? It would take a court bolder than this one to predict, as our dissenting colleague appears to suggest, that extension, not invalidation, would be the probable choice" replied prosecutors.
The DEA chose to accommodate one religion but not another is basically the point Olsen and the Coptic church intended to prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence. "The Establishment Clause compels the agency to justify its distinction and requires us to scrutinize the agency's rationale strictly," Olsen explained, but to no avail thus far.
"Given this demanding standard of review, I must conclude that the agency has failed to satisfy its burden. Accordingly, I would grant Olsen's petition for review and remand to the agency for reconsideration without reaching Olsen's Free Exercise challenge," said his attorney, but ultimately as of now, Mr. Olsen remains incarcerated for the cannabis conviction.
Carl Olsen is additionally a strong member of "Iowans for Medical Marijuana". Himself along with another member of the CRC, decided to challenge the scheduling framework as applied to Cannabis in a lawsuit filed in September of 2008.
With unusual speed, the DEA responded negatively last week which comes as no surprise, but Olsen is "undeterred" as the ruling was expected and considered a necessary step towards the ultimate goal of treating Cannabis in a logical manner according to him and so he trudges on in his fight for sacramental liberation.
Emailing with Carl Olsen finds him not so limited in his fight for cannabis liberation despite being captive in prison, his activism and efforts can be seen in his recent challenge against the Iowa oar of Pharmacy, and his reason being that cannabis does not fit the criteria to remain classified as a Schedule 1 substance.
He also spends his days assisting other cannabis crusaders in their legal battles for cannabis liberation, including this reporter personally as I prepare to challenge the Oregon Department of Justice on a cannabis issue myself on behalf of my ministries with his wisdom an expertise at my side.
I bring to you the information about Carl Olsen because so many cannabis freedom fighters out here are unaware of his situation or that he is in fact a true cannabis POW, as also is Roger Christie.
These are two men doing what they believed to be the right thing for both the plant an the people, unlike the reverend Charles Eddy Lepp who allegedly insisted the feds lock him up in prison for cannabis as his excuse for having ripped off many patients for literally $10,000+ each thanks to his demands for a prompt arrest and conviction.
We need to be aware of whom our legitimate cannabis freedom fighters are, and support them in every way possible, and stop wasting our time, efforts and our hard earned cash trying to help the wolves of our movement who only wish to profiteer off the sufferings of others all in the guise of being a cannabis freedom fighting hero.
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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