Marijuana-is-my-religion defense fails for Trevor Douglas

Yesterday, we shared the story of Trevor Douglas, 25, who had decided to defend himself against a marijuana-possession charge by citing his membership in the THC Ministry, which sees ganja as a religious sacrament.

Nice try, but it didn't fly. Clear Creek County Rachel J. Olguin-Fresquez ruled against Douglas in part because he didn't sign up with the THC Ministry until after his arrest -- and she also suggested that the ministry itself constitutes more of a philosophy than an organized religion in the classic sense.

Messages have been left for Hawaii-based THC Ministry founder Roger Christie; this blog will be updated when he offers additional comments. In the meantime, here's THC's account of the verdict:

Cannabis Religious Defendant Convicted of Possession

{Georgetown, CO} -- Trevor Douglas, a 25-year-old Avon, Colorado resident, was convicted on the charges of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and possession of marijuana paraphernalia by Clear Creek County Judge Rachel J. Olguin-Fresquez. He was sentenced to 15 hours of community service and $200 in fines.

Judge Fresquez reasoned that Trevor's acts were not part of an "organized" religion. She said that what Trevor was engaging in was more philosophical beliefs than organized religion. She said since the Church of Universal Sacraments, a Hilo campus-based church, was now defunct, that Trevor could not claim he was a member. She also said that since Trevor's affiliation with the THC Ministry came after his arrest, it was not relevant to the case. Judge Fresquez used the Supreme Court decisions of US v Meyers and Cantwell v. State of Connecticut in reaching her verdict.

"The verdict wasn't what I was looking for," said Trevor Douglas, "but the judge thought she was doing what was fair in her mind."

Denver cannabis attorney Rob Corry agreed to represent Trevor at the last minute. "I have no doubt that Trevor is sincere in his religious beliefs," said attorney Rob Corry. Corry was disappointed in the decision, but said that the judge's gave valuable information for future cases.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts