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Old 03-12-2010, 05:35 PM   #1
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Hilo Cannabis Ministry Raided By Feds

Feds raid Hilo cannabis ministry

'No comment' from U.S. Attorney

by John Burnett
Tribune-Herald Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010 7:28 AM HST

Federal agents raided the downtown Hilo sanctuary of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry Wednesday morning, assisted by local police.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Muehleck said that no one had yet been arrested or charged in connection with the raid. Reached shortly before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, he declined to provide other details and would not say whether THC Ministry director and founder Roger Christie had been detained.

"There's gonna be no comment from our office talking about anything that's occurred in Hilo or on the Island of Hawaii at this point," said Muehleck.

Local police had directed inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's office in Honolulu.

The door to the ministry's upstairs space at 94 Kamehameha Ave. was locked at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday. A sign next to the door said that the ministry is open from 2-5 p.m. weekdays.

Jared Fischer, 29, of Hilo, who was outside the ministry's entrance, said it was unusual for the door to be locked during posted business hours.

"I'm totally upset," said Fischer, who said he's a church member and uses cannabis as a sacrament. He said he tried calling the ministry's phone and was surprised that nobody answered.

He said he'd heard "the (Drug Enforcement Administration) busted Roger Christie." Fischer said that he was not at THC Ministry headquarters at the time, but heard "it happened sometime before noon."

A call to THC Ministry's cell phone triggered a message that said that Christie's voice mail was full and could not take messages. Nor did Christie respond to a message left on a land line in time for this story.

"I guess that'll put an end to the dispensary," said the manager of a neighboring business, who asked not to be identified. "I'm all for live-and-let-live ... but I think that the presence of (THC Ministry) just as you enter downtown Hilo sends the wrong message to people who come here."

The businessman said he saw local police arrive at about 10 a.m. and federal authorities about an hour later.

He said there is usually a line "like clockwork" at 2 p.m. when the ministry's door opens.

The Web site imedicalcannabis.org lists THC Ministry as a "collective" or "cooperative" dispensary of medical marijuana. The Web site indicates that "flowers" -- another name for the bud of the female marijuana plant -- are offered, with on-site medicating available, and cash payment accepted.

While Hawaii has a law allowing the use of medical marijuana, the sale of marijuana is illegal under any circumstances and dispensaries are not allowed, although the state Senate has passed and sent to the House a bill to allow medical marijuana dispensaries. The measure was introduced by Sens. Will Espero, Robert Bunda, J. Kalani English, Brickwood Galuteria and Josh Green, all Democrats. Green is a physician from Kona.

The bill, if passed, would levy a $30 per ounce tax on medical marijuana, and would bring in an estimated $50 million yearly to depleted state coffers. It's scheduled for a hearing before the House Health and Public Safety committees at 10:45 a.m. today in House conference room 209 at the state Capitol Building in Honolulu.

THC Ministry's Web site makes no mention of its downtown Hilo sanctuary being a medical marijuana dispensary. The site proclaims: "Cultivation and enjoyment of Cannabis sacrament is a fundamental human right provided by God and protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." The site further states: "We provide a legitimate religious 'defense to prosecution' for sincere practitioners over 21 years old."

The site lists the Hilo sanctuary as the "home ministry," with branches in Los Angeles, Bozeman, Mont., and Boulder, Colo.

The Associated Press reported Tuesday night that a Colorado man who claims membership in THC Ministry was convicted of misdemeanor possession of marijuana, plus possessing drug paraphernalia and driving an unregistered vehicle.

Trevor Douglas of Avon, Colo., argued that he shouldn't be convicted on drug charges because marijuana serves the same role in his religion as communion wine in Christianity. The judge didn't buy it, and he was fined $450 plus court costs and ordered to serve 15 hours of community service.

Clear Creek County Judge Rachel J. Olguin-Fresquez said that Douglas's beliefs don't rise to the level of religion.

Christie wrote a letter to Olguin-Fresquez, dated Monday, confirming that Douglas is "a member in good standing of the THC Ministry." Christie wrote that Douglas "is searching for higher meaning in his life and has deep questions about his place in the Universe and his quest for God. The plant Cannabis helps him further his knowledge and his quest for spiritual attainment."

It's not known if Douglas's conviction in Colorado is connected with the Hilo raid of THC Ministry headquarters.

Christie has also sponsored one-day seminars called "cannabis college" in a street level space in the Moses Building, most recently last Saturday. "Your $100 donation will include classes, great teachers and a catered hemp seed lunch," the ministry Web site said.

An announcement sent to the Tribune-Herald read, in part: "Some of the best cannabis growers on the Big Island will demonstrate their techniques for growing the highest quality medicine and sacrament. The classes will include lighting, cloning, fertilizing, harvesting, and curing."

Christie is a director of the Peaceful Sky Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group that wrote a ballot initiative passed into law by 53 percent of Big Island voters in November, making adult personal use of marijuana on private property the "lowest law-enforcement priority."

On the Internet: http://www.thc-ministry.org; http://imedicalcannabis.org/director...ministry-hilo/

E-mail John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:24 PM   #2
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fuckin leo!
go got get the ice heads, wait, maybe the big time asian ice trafficers are paying hawaiian cops off. why else would cops defy the law and will of the people, using resources better allocated to a real problem. pull you heads out of your fucking asses and quit messing with decent people. get the hard drugs under control and maybe, maybe we'll give you some respect.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:27 PM   #3
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Wow, cool church. I personally am a Christian and a licensed Pastor but I don't have a church since I am more of an evangelistic type, just got licensed so I can get into places I otherwise couldn't like jails, etc(not that I have done anything yet with it....but I do believe that God gave ALL seed bearing plants for mankind's benefit and since it is no where near as intoxicating or dangerous as alcohol or deadly like cigarettes. It's like a reward to be enjoyed after a long day. I have thought about getting a non-profit approval and starting a pro cannabis Christian church. My doctrine would be the same and would be Biblically sound but it wouldn't frown upon smoking bud like most churches do.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:04 AM   #4
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Sad to hear...sounds like the dea wanted a vacation.

Going to burn one for the ministry. On the beach.
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Old 03-13-2010, 03:12 AM   #5
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I wonder if this has anything to do with the increased press they are getting since they have a member trying to use the sacrament arguement after being busted recently?
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:10 PM   #6
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So no one has been arrested or charged in connection with the raid.

Just a case of gov't sanctioned theft here boys and girls, theft.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:02 PM   #7
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Roger was busted a day before 3 medical marijuana bills were to be read and voted on in committee. The bills passed. Maybe this was a preemptive strike, as Roger would have been well positioned to open up dispensaries on all of the islands.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:07 PM   #8
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I always heard the pot laws in Hawaii were absurdly harsh. I hope all of that can work itself out without a lot of nice people going to prison.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:13 PM   #9
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Here's what Roger posted on the THC Ministry board-

#1 8 Hours Ago
rogerchristie
Founder
Cannabis Sacrament Minister Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Hilo, Hawai'i Planet Earth 19.7 lat. & 155.1 long.
Age: 60
Posts: 2,948

Due to the raid on my home and on the THC Ministry ...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hello there,

Aloha. As the Founder and leader of the THC Ministry I must report that U.S. federal government agents have confiscated my telephone, infiltrated my computer and also likely this website forum. Please take care of yourself and your family in your own way for your own security.

Running the THC Ministry has been a blessing for me every day for almost ten years. I've been feeling lately like I've been in a strange and wonderful rodeo riding a bucking bronco or a wild bull for almost too long. Will the buzzer sound for a win? Will I be thrown-off? Should I get off of it before I'm thrown off of it? Apparently I've been riding this wild thing for a bit too long. I just got 'thrown-off', but have landed on my feet for now. It's time for a renewal of spirit and grounding for me.

I didn't see the possibility of the raid coming and so I proceeded along as normal, blind to the vulnerability of myself, my lover, our Ministry staff, and you, our members. For that I sincerely apologize. I will take some time to look within and to hopefully find some meaningful answers. To the best of my ability I will share my soul-searching with you here. Mahalo.

All the very best to you and yours,

Roger
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Seed Buyers Beware! Don't waste your money on hype. If you have to buy multiple seed packs to find that "keeper", you're getting ripped off. Every female in a pack of seeds should be a keeper! We've been led to believe that lots of variation in a cross is a good thing, because some vendors would rather you buy several packs of their gear, instead of them actually doing the selections to fix that nag champa or golden clit trait themselves. For hobby growers, pheno hunting is fun. But mono-croppers who grow to pay the bills prefer a consistent product that regularly delivers the desired trait package.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:07 PM   #10
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Thanks for posting that Festivus.... As a former resident of Hilo, this story makes me sad, it was great what Roger was doing! I'm sure he'll find a way to keep up the good fight for us all.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:27 PM   #11
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yeah as a former Big I rez, I had met and talked with Roger on several occasions, He was and is a champion for the plant with a good heart, I truly hope he can rebound from this harassment
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Old 03-14-2010, 05:13 PM   #12
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it says right in the bible that god gave man all herb-bearing seeds to be used and then goes on to explain how its burned as an incense to appease god. do you think he meant all plants...except cannabis? get real.
cannabis is all over the bible, and the first amendment says that governement laws cannot trump religious laws..but that is exactly what they are doing....anyone who reads the bible and believes what it says MUST aknowledge cannabis as a gift from god to be used by man, and if you are against it...then you are against the bible and not religious....
its like being a gay catholic, it doesnt work.
by law enforcement imposing laws against the most beneficial plant god has given us these cops are going to hell....
if you are against cannabis, your against the bible. you ARE going to hell. got it?
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:35 PM   #13
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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n174/a12.html
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Author: John Burnett

FEDS RAIDED HOMES AS WELL AS THC MINISTRY

HILO -- At least six and perhaps as many as a dozen homes were raided Wednesday during a federal drug sweep on the Big Island.

"I know of about six others who were raided," said Roger Christie, founder and director of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, whose downtown Hilo sanctuary and Wainaku residence were searched by federal agents, assisted by local police.

A police log for Wednesday showed 12 report numbers indicating police assistance to outside law enforcement agencies between 4 a.m. and just past 3 p.m. Five incidents occurred in Puna, four in South Hilo, and one each in North Hilo, Hamakua and Ka'u.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that all are related to the federal operation, and referred any further inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's office in Honolulu.

"There have been no arrests and no charges," Deputy U.S. Attorney Tom Muehleck said Thursday afternoon.

Two callers told Stephens Media that their homes was raided. One didn't offer additional information or leave a phone number on a voice message. Another said 25 marijuana seedlings were confiscated from his home and complained about his 93-year-old father being awakened at 6 a.m.

Christie said authorities spent about seven hours searching his home and ministry, starting around 6 a.m. He said the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspector and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service were involved in the search, as were local police.

"They treated me with the utmost respect and courtesy," Christie said Wednesday afternoon at THC Ministry headquarters, which showed no outward signs Thursday afternoon of having been searched. Christie said investigators even bought him breakfast.

"They were looking for records and cash -- ill-gotten gain -- and cannabis, cannabis smoking devices, cannabis growing equipment," Christie said. "The search warrant was pretty broad, and they looked high and low. They looked thoroughly around my place, around both places."

Christie said that authorities confiscated ministry records, holy anointing oil containing cannabis and Christie's cell phone. He said that computer hard drives were copied but the computers were left in operable condition. One marijuana plant was taken from the sanctuary.

"They moved it so carefully that they didn't leave any trace of dirt behind," he said.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:39 PM   #14
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Another one...............

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v10/n174/a08.html
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)
Author: John Burnett

FEDS ALSO RAIDED ISLE RESIDENCES

Christie: 'Utmost Respect' Showed In Search

At least six and perhaps as many as a dozen homes were raided Wednesday during a federal drug sweep on the Big Island.

"I know of about six others who were raided," said Roger Christie, founder and director of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, whose downtown Hilo sanctuary and Wainaku residence were searched by federal agents, assisted by local police.

A police log for Wednesday showed 12 report numbers indicating police assistance to outside law enforcement agencies between 4 a.m. and just past 3 p.m. Five incidents occurred in Puna, four in South Hilo, and one each in North Hilo, Hamakua and Ka'u.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that all are related to the federal operation, and referred any further inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's office in Honolulu.

"There have been no arrests and no charges," Deputy U.S. Attorney Tom Muehleck said Thursday afternoon.

Two callers told the Tribune-Herald that their homes were raided. One didn't offer additional information or leave a phone number on a voice message. Another said 25 marijuana seedlings were confiscated from his home and complained about his 93-year-old father being awakened at 6 a.m.

Christie said authorities spent about seven hours searching his home and ministry, starting around 6 a.m. He said the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Postal Inspector and U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service were involved in the search, as were local police.

"They treated me with the utmost respect and courtesy," Christie said Wednesday afternoon at THC Ministry headquarters, which showed no outward signs Thursday afternoon of having been searched. Christie said investigators even bought him breakfast.

"They were looking for records and cash -- ill-gotten gain -- and cannabis, cannabis smoking devices, cannabis growing equipment," Christie said. "The search warrant was pretty broad, and they looked high and low. They looked thoroughly around my place, around both places."

Christie said that authorities confiscated ministry records, holy anointing oil containing cannabis and Christie's cell phone. He said that computer hard drives were copied but the computers were left in operable condition. One marijuana plant was taken from the sanctuary.

"They moved it so carefully that they didn't leave any trace of dirt behind," he said.

"To me, the interesting thing in the search warrant was ... the need to leave anything behind anything that could be construed as legitimate ministry materials. ... Usually, it's just rip and roll," Christie added. "You know, that's a country I want to live in. If they're gonna have to do this, do it with some respect."

The search warrant states: "Other than the things described in the Subject Premises 1 and 2 List, the ( Comprehensive Drug Testing ) will not communicate any information they learn ... absent further approval of the court."

"That's why the 'no comment,' possibly," Christie said. "But still, we're not supposed to have a secret government."

Christie, 60, a Colorado native, said he didn't know if his letter of support for Trevor Douglas of Colorado, who was fined $450 Tuesday for marijuana possession, was connected with the raid.

"I have to clarify something here," Christie said. "He was not a member until after ( his arrest and charge ). It was months afterwards. So I don't feel like the THC Ministry 'lost one' although it implies that in the media, that we lost a case. ... I think Trevor did amazingly well carrying the torch for the cause of cannabis liberation, to the New York Times, to the ( Associated Press ). ... But I guess he mentioned THC Ministry and they latched on to that because we have a branch in Boulder."

Asked if he thought publicity surrounding the case brought on the raid, Christie said: "I think it's cumulative. I've been the subject of an ongoing investigation for a long time, and it's ramping up. We've gotten a lot of publicity in Colorado in the past couple of months.

A downtown Hilo businessman described THC Ministry as a "dispensary" - -- illegal under current Hawaii law, and a label Christie eschews.

"I operate a ministry that assists medical patients," he said. "So we have cannabis here that people can donate for if they are 'blue card' ( medical marijuana permit ) holders or members of the ministry."

Christie is a board member of the Peaceful Sky Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group that drafted the initiative passed into law by Big Island voters last November making adult use of marijuana on private property the "lowest law-enforcement priority."

"The Peaceful Sky Alliance however, is not currently and has not been, involved in the activities and operations of the THC Ministry," said Wolf Daniel Braun, Peaceful Sky Alliance's president, in a written statement.

Christie said authorities are not preventing him from reopening the ministry, and said he considers his ministry lawful -- cannabis sacrament and all.

"I have a license to marry people," he said. "My license was upheld, the only time it was challenged, in federal court. Maybe that made me feel overly confident. ... I've got the IRS tax guide. It's a fairly old one ( from 1994 ), but I'm told it doesn't change that much. My understanding is that I don't have to file or pay taxes if I'm an exempt ministry, and I feel that I comply."
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:27 PM   #15
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the local chiefs of polices in hawaii are rumored to have the best weed plantations, at least that is how it used to be - he must have been cuttin into their cashflow
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