After I wrote my last two articles about the Sugarleaf Rastafarian church that has had many notable incidents and controversies both before and after my articles.
I have participated in a few discussions online about these incidents and I received a comment by Heidi Grossman Lepp regarding the cases that they say that they have helped out in recent months, that have been victorious regarding their cannabis faith. Heidi sent me a document that lists these cases, and promised that she would get back to me with related case numbers and documentation. For now I will display the document that she sent me, and I will follow up with the additional information that she said that she would send.
Here is the document that Heidi sent me today: SugarLeafCases-details-redacted.xls (Heidi sent me names and phone numbers for each person in each case, but I took the liberty to remove that contact information for the same of privacy)
Chatter about the Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church
Also I would like to comment about the conversations that I have had recently about people that are criticizing the idea of the Sugarleaf Rastafarian church, and the idea of cannabis faith in general.
First with a comment that I got on this blog today; from Cannawitch420@gmail.com
So what did your personal research reveal? or did you not investigate but merely take what was said to you as fact? proof that these words are spoken in truth is what the people want. i would like to open a cannabis church but i do not have any cash to give as a donation. can i still open a chapter even though the only donation i can give is my ability to provide a church in my area where others may also find refuge and honor their sacred cannabis? are donations required? if so, that would not make it a donation, but a fee. is the only way to make a donation to the church by giving cash or can one donate in other ways, like their time as a minister by opening up a church? i found this video, perhaps you might want to get another side of the story so you can see the confusion many of us are dealing with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oaGDMC5mLI&t=93s
My reply to Cannawitch420, is that no I am not taking what they have said to me as fact. I have been digging up information on this. I do believe that people are “innocent until proven guilty”, so I am not taking the shit-posting as fact either. I am offering the information sent to me, as it is given, and I will continue to update my readers as I get more information.
I have saw some documents showing the Sugarleaf logo, the ONAC logo, and some information about payments for church startups. However I have no evidence that Heidi or Eddy created those documents. I have no evidence that anyone paid Heidi or Eddy $30,000 or anywhere close to that for anything. I also would like to see if anyone out there has any substantial proof to the contrary. Eddy Lepp has recorded himself telling his side of the story, other people have told their side of the story. However as of yet I do not see any significant evidence other than hearsay that the Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church has done anything nefarious or wrong. Hearsay doesn’t equal evidence in my opinion.
Another person on facebook wrote this on a friend’s post, and I responded by posting my recent articles.
Her reply was:
“You should probably confirm eddys ordination of Rastafarian lol it does not exist. Which is why he went to prison. Thier Church was not established in 2014. That’s a made up date. If you want a huge pile of information regarding the selling if Churches, Matt Pappas and Charnel James. PM me, I’ll send you all the information, text messages, emails….”
I have asked her to send me the information, so far she has only said that she will send it to my FB friend first, but so far she is still organizing the information.
Reference this screen shot (names redacted for privacy)
Can Cannabis Sacrament be protected by the first amendment?
Although I have documented all of this before, I saw a few people on facebook saying “cannabis can not be a religion” or “that is illegal” or “that won’t be protected”, or “that only applies to Rastafarians and the Native Americans”.
To dispel those myths is very easy, and not just by court cases. Lets simply look at the constitution.
First this is a comment by someone on Facebook:
“So, the Native Americans and Rastafarian Churches were given Special Federal Permission to use and possess Cannabis for religious use in the 1970s. Yes normally that includes States. However, if the state wants to, they can do this and make you go to court and prove SINCERITY.
Even if you prove you are sincere, you may end up doing time if the courts find that your POSSESSION amounts do not match what you are claiming your religious use requires.
However, this is special permission. It can be revoked.
So if it’s found out that the ONACS were party to the selling Cannabis Churches, the feds could revoke that special permission for abuse.
The Lepps have, in the last 6 months, engaged in such thug like behavior that it is doubtful they will pass the sincerity test. Stalking people, making threats, showing up to people’s homes with car loads of people for intimidation purposes, hiring NON CHURCH people to work thier crops. Religious Cannabis is handled, grown and harvested in accordance with religious practice.
As far as Eddys “Ordination”, I’m told he tried that at his criminal trial yet could not produce proof of his ordination. The Rastafarians have no record. The ONACS have no record of Heidi before 2016. There were no Church activities prior to 2016. So the claim that they started the Church in 2014 is probably a lie.
Considering Eddy was in prison at the time.
They are creating havoc and dishonor on all the Cannabis Churches with this behavior, the selling of Churches forv$35k each and thier thug like stalking and threatening of witnesses and others.
And now, as we see in this article, the entire question of religious use is being questioned again after 50 YEARS.
Thanks you asses.”
My responses to this are:
“Churches, the feds could revoke that special permission for abuse. “
Not true, the feds have been illegally prosecuting people, or at very least unconstitutionally prosecuting people for many years, despite that the 1st Amendment most certainly defends their religion.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
Meaning that Christians who know that cannabis is a sacrament that is written into Exodus 30:23, and many other parts of the Bible, have one of the longest written history of cannabis religious usage.
Hindu’s have an ancient written history of using cannabis as a sacrament as well.
Native Americans didn’t have cannabis until the Europeans came over. However, they have a several hundred year history of using cannabis as well.
Rasta’s are a very new faith tradition, and their ancient origins of cannabis use date back to the Bible.
However none of that matters;
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”
^^ Because of that
If cannabis only protects religions, then the first amendment doesn’t cover atheism
The of course I get the “if only religions get this protections, that is not fair to atheists.
Of course I show them clear evidence that the 7th Circuit Court has legally deemed atheism as a religion, as have multiple quality dictionaries.
So in reply to this today, I wrote;
I’ve wrote up a few articles on this in the past. But thanks for bringing my attention to the fact that many people do not realize that atheism is a religion.
I think atheism is a religion very similarly to how I consider AA or NA a religion.
However unlike NA or AA, atheism is legally considered a religion, and is considered a religion by multiple popular dictionaries.
I am writing up an article about the first amendment, the 14th amendment and a few of the other aspects about cannabis faith churches.
As I have stated in several articles about this on xcannabis.net, atheism can most certainly be a religion, and a cannabis religion also.
The first amendment explicitly protects this type of organization, in no un-certain terms. And the 14th Amendment assures equal protection under the law.
Atheism is legally a religion, and there are very religious aspects of religion in atheism.
I get the pushback on this all of the time. However, there is a lot more to it than “atheism is just the lack of religion”. Not true.
Atheism is a belief, and a theory of sorts as well. Believing that there is no god, is as much of a belief as believing there is a god.
Reference: 7th Circuit Court says Atheism is a religion
and in many legal cases, it has been contested that atheism is a religion (by atheists)
“Plaintiff Michael A. Newdow (“Newdow”) is an ordained
minister and founder of the First Amendmist Church of True
Science (“FACTS”). Newdow and the members of FACTS
are Atheists “whose religious beliefs are specifically”
The dogma I can easily point to, is of course the belief and assertion that there “is no god”, and the tenets are easily found in works by Richard Dawkins, because most atheists I encounter either subscribe to his works, or write works of their own that essentially mirror him.
Also, it is clear that atheists have a sense of moral high ground, based on “truth” and/or “science”
And even the dictionary lists atheism as a religion.
In the past I have wrote several articles about atheism, you can find them by searching this website, or clicking this link
My personal opinion about the Sugarleaf Rastafarian church, and about the lessons that can be learned from this
Personally the lesson that I am once again learning from all of this back and forth, is that the infighting and the “divide and conquer” and the whole “us and them” thing is what really prevents “we the people” from nullifying cannabis prohibition. When we work together we are stronger.
I believe that Eddy and his wife have good intentions, even if they are hoping to get donations for their services. I don’t see anything different from their desire to survive on voluntary donations, as opposed to the “First Amendmist Church of True Science” doing this, or any other religion for that matter.
Personally I just guide people via my blog, for free. I have directed people to go to the Universal Life Church, and get ordained for nothing, and if they want fancy church packages from ULM, they can pay, but it is optional and not required to be ordained. If someone wants to donate to Eddy and Heidi’s church, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and nothing required either. Voluntary donations do not startle me in the least.
I do not believe that the ONAC or the Sugarleaf church are any more protected or any less protected than other faiths or religions. I also do think that the government will try to illegally challenge these people, just like they have been challenging legal medical marijuana dispensaries since 1996. Cannabis is risky business, even in today’s culture. So whether it is a church, or a medical dispensary, or a recreational store, there will be challenges so just expect it and prepare wisely.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves”
I have written a lot about cannabis faith over the years, starting all the way back to 2008. You can learn more by clicking this link; https://xcannabis.net/?s=faith
What is the legitimacy of cannabis sacrament in a church?
It is legitimate, as the first amendment is legitimate. But expect turbulent waters if you accept this path.