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InvisibleGretchenmeister
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Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) * 1
    #19633943 - 03/01/14 11:13 AM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Narcotics Case Dismissed

Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 2:00 am | Updated: 8:16 am, Fri Feb 28, 2014.

Tom LaVenture - The Garden Island | 2 comments

LIHUE — In what members are calling a victory for human rights, a narcotics case against the minister of a Native American church who uses ceremonial peyote was dismissed Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Jesse Shane Johnson, 38, minister for Beauty Way of the Four Directions of the Native American Church of Hawaii, said he was happy that federal laws to protect religious and ceremonial rights prevailed.

“I have been praying ceaselessly this whole time and trusting in God that this would come out right with recognizing the laws that are there to protect us,” Johnson said.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano dismissed the case with prejudice. The defendant’s right to a speedy and public trial were violated for a second time and the prosecution cannot bring charges again.

“Given the facts and circumstances, it became apparent that we did not have a viable case to move forward with, and we agreed that dismissal was appropriate,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar.

In court, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Takata said the state did not object to dismissing the case as the 180-day limit to bring the defendant to trial expired. He asked the court to dismiss without prejudice and allow possible charges in the future.

Johnson’s attorney, Gregory Meyers, said the case should be dismissed with prejudice. He said the defendant is an ordained minister who is licensed to practice the ceremonial use of peyote. His rights are protected under the First Amendment and U.S. Code Title 42 on Traditional Indian religious use of peyote.

The code notes that ceremonial use of peyote by Indians is protected by federal regulation as a centuries-old religious sacrament when it is integral to a way of life and perpetuates tribes and cultures, he said. When 28 states enacted similar protections, Congress acted in the interest of uniformity and to ensure a national standard of religious practice under the First Amendment.

Hawaii does not have its own protection, Meyers said, but federal law clarifies the legal protections for religious use of peyote to avoid marginalizing and discrimination of Indian tribes and cultures.

The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations concerning food and drugs lists the Native American Church as a special exemption regarding drug enforcement. Peyote is a controlled substance but not for non-drug use in native religious ceremonies.

"After more than two years since initially being arrested, Mr. Johnson is happy to put this case behind him," Meyers said. "He is most thankful that Native American Church members' constitutional right to practice their religious beliefs, without governmental interference, has been recognized by the Court.

"Credit should also go to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Takata who thoroughly researched the pertinent issues in this case and presented a fair and balanced argument to the Court regarding Mr. Johnson's right to freedom of religion," he added.

In December 2011, Kauai police officers raided Johnson’s residence and reported peyote cacti and dried byproducts along with processed marijuana. Police said the marijuana exceeded Johnson’s medicinal permit, but did not mention if the peyote was in violation of his rights to religious possession.

In May 2013, a felony information complaint was issued and Johnson was charged with first-degree promotion of a dangerous drug, unlawful use of drug paraphernalia, and second-degree commercial promotion of marijuana.

Being charged as a drug dealer resulted in Johnson’s eviction when his landlord feared that he would lose his land. His massage therapy practice also suffered as clients read news of the arrests.

Eventually, people saw through it and things got back to normal, Johnson said. The case was dismissed without prejudice, but a year later he was arrested again for mescaline possession after offering a prayer at a GMO rally.

It was the same confiscated peyote that was sent to be tested. It melted over time and naturally processed into mescaline and something they don’t do with the church, he said. The church uses fresh peyote or will dry it for use as a tea powder.

“For us this was offensive but it was a misunderstanding and I am glad it is over with a peaceful resolution,” Johnson said

The residence was registered as a church with the Department of Public Safety, and Johnson claimed that police violated his charter that is recognized by the federal government.

The Department of Public Safety takes Johnson’s peyote orders and in turn sends them to remaining peyote growers in Texas. It is shipped back with a chain of receipts to follow.

Ceremonies continued despite what Johnson said was a police order to cease until the investigation was complete. It became a civil and human rights matter, he said, and they continue to meet using a teepee tabernacle at various locations to perform many ceremonies and services that do not always involve peyote.

The confusion came with Hawaii not having its own law protecting peyote use, he said. The federal law ensures all states recognize protections and a peyote case could be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.

Albert Lopez, president of the church executive organization, said they are grateful for the outcome of the case. He said federal and state laws prevailed concerning the articles of religious freedom.

“We have been praying for a peaceful resolution from the beginning,” Lopez said.

Until the decision Thursday, church members were fearful that something could happen again, he said. Now there is a feeling of unity and a spirit that the community will return to normal.

Lopez said the late Sen. Daniel Inouye is also to thank for co-authoring the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993. Inouye also wrote the forward to Huston Smith’s book, “One Nation Under God, the Triumph of the Native American Church.”

“The church experienced persecution for decades and (Inouye) was a leader who understood the things that we are going through as a church,” Lopez said. “He understood about us having our medicines and keeping our sacraments sacred and not being used in a profane way.”

There are hundreds of charters around the United States. The Hawaii church started on the Big Island more than 22 years ago. Johnson moved to Kauai four years ago but was on the Big Island for over 20 years.

The challenge now is to ensure that all members are protected regardless of race or ethnicity, Johnson said. To require blood quantum percentiles for protections of native rights is like requiring all Buddhists to be Asian.

The third generation would lose their religious and cultural rights to medicines and their way of life, he said. It is ultimately genocide.

“This is a freedom of religion issue,” he said. “If you want to come to a native American church then you should be protected under the Constitution.”

© 2014 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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OfflineFreeTheSoul
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: Gretchenmeister] * 1
    #19634126 - 03/01/14 12:16 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

While this is good, it shouldn't be illegal in the first place.


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Offlineun-known-ome
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: FreeTheSoul]
    #19634302 - 03/01/14 01:06 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Does anyone else realize how ridiculous the entire premise of this case is? You have a substance that shouldn't be illegal in the first place, for which there is really no medical or social or even economic justification for being illegal, that is sanctioned for use as a religious sacrament, that a Native American gets charged for the possession of, that he successfully appeals based on the freedom of religion, that is heralded as a victory for human rights, yet the religious sanctity of peyote does not have any relation to its harmfulness or lack thereof.
    So this is where it gets really screwy: so this got thrown out per the freedom of religion...which gives member of his church an exemption to possess and consume peyote...which is technically saying that despite it's purported harmfulness, it's perfectly acceptable and admissible in court to use peyote as a personal choice, as part of a basic human right...and this stipulation was upheld...even though this case does not cite any basis for peyote being illegal in the first place, and that the religious use of peyote does not in any way have any bearing on the medical considerations for taking it. SOOOO in a nutshell, this case is saying that someone's personal choice supersedes federal law, and that despite that peyote might potentially be harmful, it's fine to use it as long as you want to.

This makes my head hurt.


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Invisibletrampis
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: un-known-ome]
    #19635605 - 03/01/14 06:10 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

What's bullshit is that this kind of thing only applies to the Native American Church.

How is it not racist to prosecute someone who is not of that heritage for possessing peyote?

Why is it not allowed for anyone of another background to use peyote for spiritual purposes?

I'm happy that the guy isn't going to be prosecuted, but this is far from a "victory for human rights" considering that anyone else would have been thrown in jail.


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InvisibleBlackWidow
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: trampis]
    #19635772 - 03/01/14 06:38 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

trampis said:
What's bullshit is that this kind of thing only applies to the Native American Church.

How is it not racist to prosecute someone who is not of that heritage for possessing peyote?

Why is it not allowed for anyone of another background to use peyote for spiritual purposes?

I'm happy that the guy isn't going to be prosecuted, but this is far from a "victory for human rights" considering that anyone else would have been thrown in jail.



I've always wondered this too.


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OfflineShroomDoom
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: trampis]
    #19635852 - 03/01/14 06:52 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

trampis said:
What's bullshit is that this kind of thing only applies to the Native American Church.

How is it not racist to prosecute someone who is not of that heritage for possessing peyote?



Shane Johnson is white dude.... anyone of any race can join the Nac. He has his own charter even. Peyote laws arent racist its a religious Sacrament. Its not a narcotic or a recreational drug so if you want to posess and use it you play by the rules.


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Invisibletrampis
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: ShroomDoom]
    #19636466 - 03/01/14 09:30 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

My mistake, I had always heard that you had to be a certain percentage native american to be allowed into the NAC and assumed this man fit that description.

None-the-less, why should members of the NAC be the only ones who are allowed to use peyote for spiritual purposes?

That would be like saying only Christians can drink wine...


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InvisibleGretchenmeister
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: trampis]
    #19637446 - 03/02/14 01:14 AM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Here is the original story on the original bust if anyone is interested. 

http://kauaieclectic.blogspot.com/2011/12/kauai-cops-raid-native-american-church.html

The minister although having some NA heritage, is white. Also, I heard the State is having to return all the marijuana and peyote they confiscated. Although the fresh peyote is mostly ruined I am told.


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InvisibleGretchenmeister
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: trampis]
    #19637470 - 03/02/14 01:21 AM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

trampis said:
My mistake, I had always heard that you had to be a certain percentage native american to be allowed into the NAC and assumed this man fit that description.

None-the-less, why should members of the NAC be the only ones who are allowed to use peyote for spiritual purposes?

That would be like saying only Christians can drink wine...




Your thoughts are valid and pertinent. As a non-native person who has sat in a few NAC prayer meetings and having a tiny bit of insight into the religion and culture, many non native people are faithful to this religion, and have participated at the risk of being a criminal for doing so.


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Offlinefapjack
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: Gretchenmeister] * 3
    #19637574 - 03/02/14 02:01 AM (6 years, 2 months ago)

If I can cut the foreskin off my newly born son, why the fuck can't I eat peyote?  Hell, I can even get the rabbi to suck the blood off, and that's ok because its my religion.

The concept of religious freedom is fucking retarded.  Just because its a tradition doesn't make it a good idea.


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InvisibleBlackWidow
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: fapjack]
    #19637682 - 03/02/14 02:36 AM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Quote:

Hell, I can even get the rabbi to suck the blood off, and that's ok because its my religion.



Horrible example. Most of us, not sure about you, eat the meat of dead animals because it tastes good. I don't see much difference between my example and yours.


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Offlinefapjack
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: BlackWidow] * 1
    #19637759 - 03/02/14 03:07 AM (6 years, 2 months ago)



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Invisibletealeaf
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: fapjack]
    #19640544 - 03/02/14 07:14 PM (6 years, 2 months ago)

Legal Peyote for Native Americans to me is America's way of a majorly half assed apology or the 1800's on.


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OfflineTEM2020
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: ShroomDoom]
    #26639580 - 04/30/20 07:44 PM (28 days, 1 hour ago)

Shane Johnson belongs to the federally recognized Cherokee nation and was ordained by a Lakota NAC minister.


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OfflineTEM2020
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: trampis]
    #26639608 - 04/30/20 07:55 PM (28 days, 51 minutes ago)

You are correct in that Shane Johnson is a part of the federally recognized Cherokee nation.


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OfflineHolybullshit
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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: ShroomDoom] * 2
    #26640610 - 05/01/20 08:46 AM (27 days, 12 hours ago)

Quote:

ShroomDoom said:Peyote laws arent racist its a religious Sacrament. Its not a narcotic or a recreational drug so if you want to posess and use it you play by the rules.




No, but the laws are(to me) a clear violation of the first amendment, which is supposed to prevent governments from making different laws for each religion.

Its OK for the government to make laws which restrict the actions of a person of any religion, but once you start saying "people of this religion can do this, but only them" thats a clear violation IMO.

I think that probably had something to do with them throwing the case out for violating his right to a fair and speedy trial...exonerating him on religious grounds is probably a precedent they didn't want to risk.


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Re: Narcotics Case Dismissed (HAWAII- PEYOTE) [Re: Holybullshit]
    #26647933 - 05/04/20 11:59 AM (24 days, 8 hours ago)

6 year old thread....


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