Religious Sect Says It Has Been Using Marijuana in Park Ceremonies

David Sutherland

Leaders of a church that uses marijuana in its ceremonies say they have been meeting daily this week at Roger Williams National Memorial and have been questioned by authorities, but not arrested.

Anne Armstrong, deaconess of the West Greenwich-based Healing Church, tells the Providence Journal they explained to a park ranger and police that their use of cannabis was religious.

She says about five people have been meeting for daily prayers in advance of a larger ceremony scheduled for Sunday.

Jennifer Smith, the site manager for the memorial, has said the group has a permit that allows it to assemble on Sunday, but not to violate any laws.

Church officials say they believe their First Amendment rights trump any law against using the marijuana. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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