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Court not swayed by religion in Michigan marijuana case

Jan 28, 2017

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A federal appeals court has found nothing heavenly about a Michigan's man claim to have a religious right to grow pot.

The court on Thursday upheld an 18-month prison sentence for Brendan Barnes. In 2014, Lansing authorities responding to a gas leak found 321 plants at his house. Police found more marijuana at another house in Marshall.

Barnes claimed he was growing marijuana under a religious exemption from the Oklevueha Native American Church. He said he paid $25 for a membership card and $200 to possess sacraments.

But the appeals court says Barnes' belief in marijuana appears to be a personal one, not one rooted in religion. The court says there's no requirement that he grow marijuana or donate it to the church.

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