New Religious Freedom Law in Indiana Effectively Legalizes Marijuana Consumption

When Indiana lawmakers passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, they appear to have inadvertently opened the door to legal marijuana consumption — but only if it’s used as part of a religious act or expression.

The nuance in the new law was first caught by Indiana lawyer Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, who also identified several religions that rely on cannabis for various rites or rituals. “I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scott-free,” Shabazz writes.

Furthermore, in a timely development for Indiana weed smokers, there’s a new church coming to town: “On Friday, the same day Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Church of Cannabis sought and received approval from Indiana’s secretary of state to operate as a church,” VICE News reports.

The RFRA’s stated intention is to protect religious freedoms, but one direct result is giving businesses the right to discriminate against the LGBT community. This may have been a form of retaliation against the state’s 2014 gay marriage law. The political fallout surrounding the law, however, seems to have caught lawmakers by surprise: people around the nation are angry. Some states have already enacted bans on state-funded travel to Indiana, and several sports organizations — including the NCAA and NFL — are being pressured by the online community to take their business out of Indiana until the law is changed.


Photo Credit: Nick

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