Church of Cannabis suit raises religious liberty issues

Legal experts question whether church can overcome hurdles in challenging Indiana's marijuana laws.

By filing its highly anticipated religious liberty claim Wednesday, the First Church of Cannabis has put the question everyone's been wondering about in the hands of the court:

Is this a real religion?

And does it have a protected right to practice legitimate beliefs?

Some legal experts remain skeptical that the cannabis church's challenge of Indiana's marijuana laws will survive for long in front of a judge. But the case focuses on — if a bit unusually — some of the weighty complexities of religious liberty claims and raises lingering questions over how Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act can and can't be used.

"Is this a genuine religion, or is it a pretext?" said Indiana University law professor David Orentlicher. "Because you can imagine, with anyone who's using a controlled substance, we can't let them all...

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