LOS ANGELES, (AP) — A minister who was arrested on charges of marijuana possession has sued police for $30 million, contending his civil and religious rights were violated because he heads a church that uses pot during worship.
The Rev. Craig X Rubin, 41, is the founder of Temple 420, which holds that pot 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, his son and another man were charged last fall with two felony counts each of selling or transporting marijuana and possessing marijuana for sale.
Rubin’s lawsuit contends that last November, an undercover officer joined the Hollywood temple and bought 3 1/2 grams of marijuana “to be used for religious purposes.” Five days later, the strip-mall sanctuary was raided by officers, who seized money and 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.
The temple has an estimated 400 members who pay a $100 initiation fee and $100 annual dues, enabling them to purchase marijuana for requested donations. Marijuana also is burned during some services. In drug culture, “420” is slang for marijuana.
Calls to Rubin and his attorney were not immediately returned Thursday. A police department spokeswoman declined comment.