A minister who was arrested on charges of marijuana possession has sued police for $30 million (EUR22.5 million), saying his civil and religious rights were violated because he leads a church that uses the drug during worship.
The Rev. Craig X Rubin, 41, is the founder of Temple 420, which holds that marijuana is a religious herb.
"Our congregation mandates members study the Bible, have faith in God and regularly burn the herb cannabis (The Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible) as sacrament," says the lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court.
Rubin's lawsuit contends that last November, an undercover officer joined the temple and bought marijuana "to be used for religious purposes." Five days later, the strip-mall sanctuary was raided by officers, who seized money and marijuana.
The temple has an estimated 400 members who pay a $100 (EUR74.9) initiation fee and $100 annual dues, enabling them to buy marijuana for requested donations. Marijuana also is burned during some services. In drug culture, "420" is slang for marijuana.
Rubin has made several appearances on the Showtime series "Weeds" as the owner of a medical marijuana club. He was ordained in 1990 by the Universal Life Church, which ordains everyone who asks, reports AP.
Rubin, his son and another man were charged last fall with two felony counts each of selling or transporting marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale.
Calls to Rubin and his attorney were not immediately returned Thursday. A police department spokeswoman declined comment.
"There should be no Russian who goes to sleep without wondering if they're going to get their throat slit in the middle of the night,” Milley said