"Minister Of Marijuana" Says It's His Religion To Use Pot
PALM BAY, Fla. -- A self-proclaimed "minister of marijuana" says pot is his religion and he has every right to use it. Cops disagree and busted him while pulling 100 plants out of his house.
Steven Swalick doesn't use terms like "pot" or even "marijuana." Those terms appeared to upset him during a jailhouse interview. He admitted to using cannabis and even growing it but says it was for his religion. And he wanted only to be addressed as the "Reverend."
"It is the tree of life," said Swalick. "I've come to realize that the oil that is in that seed will provide nourishment for your whole body. You will need no other food."The 56-year-old Swalick claims he has practiced a religious belief that requires the use of cannabis since he was 15-years-old. He claims to be an ordained minister. He calls his home a sanctuary of sorts for a religion called the "Hawaiian Cannabis Ministries.""You have the right to use an otherwise illegal sacrament in a religious practice if it is mandated within your religion," he said.
The Palm Bay police department's SWAT team raided Swallick's home, Wednesday afternoon, seizing 107 plants, along with all sorts of equipment used to grow and harvest them. Police say it would be worth $100,000 on the streets.
Swalick said it wasn't being sold, but rather grown for religious ceremonies.When the word "marijuana" was used, he became upset."We do not use that word," he said. "Please forgive me and I'll apologize for you. The word is cannabis. It's the holy sacrament recognized by the Bible."Swalick now faces felony drug charges, which he believes will eventually be cleared under constitutional religious protections."I can not be convicted by man. I answer to the Lord," he said.Bond was set at $20,000.
[Via - WFTV.Com]