Cannabis church raided by police files $1M damage claim
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A religious group that said it uses cannabis as a sacrament is filing a $1.1 million claim against the City of San Diego.
The church called the Sacred Source Sanctuary, which meets in an office building in the Midway District said its rights were violated during a police raid on February 1. According to the claim, police officers damaged church property, injured one person and seized the cannabis sacrament.
The president of the Association of Sacramental Ministries, of which Sacred Source is a member, said that seven pounds of cannabis with a value of $30,000 was taken by police. Five people were arrested and charged with not having a dispensary license.
According to Alanna Reeves, “Cannabis has been used as a religious entheogen and healing sacrament for thousands of years – far longer than wine has been used.”
Attorney Michael Cindrich, who is representing the church and the association in the claim against the city said there is a difference between an unlicensed dispensary which is not paying taxes and a group that is exercising its freedom of religion.
“The Catholic Church utilizes wine as a sacrament and provides wine to children and we’re not seeing the City of San Diego making arrests and issuing citations because of the fact there are minors consuming alcohol on the premises,” Cindrich said.
He said that the cannabis is being used by the church members for spiritual purposes. “They would like to be free from interference from state and local governments.”
The City can decide if it will accept or reject the damage claim. If it’s turned down, the church and the association can move ahead with a lawsuit against the City.