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Woman asks court to allow pot use per church beliefs

September 15, 2015

A Minnesota woman accused of violating probation says she should be able to smoke pot for religious reasons because she belongs to an Indianapolis "church" that believes marijuana use is a sacrament.

Ashley Firnschild, 31, argued to the Hennepin County District Court that marijuana laws place an "undue burden" on her beliefs as a First Church of Cannabis member. The Golden Valley woman is accused of smoking marijuana and violating her probation on a drug charge.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a written statement that the First Amendment doesn't protect possessing or smoking marijuana.

The self-proclaimed church was established earlier this year in a test of Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It has filed lawsuits against the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana, claiming laws against possessing and using marijuana infringe on its religious beliefs.

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