Reverend Craig X. Rubin, a prominent minister of the Universal Life Church, founder of Temple 420, and current candidate for Los Angeles’ mayor, was recently convicted and sentenced to probation over charges of sale and possession of marijuana. Rubin’s church, Temple 420, hosts Juedo-Christian services and emphasizes the use of marijuana as a sacramental herb.
Deputy District Attorney Bob Chen seemed astounded that Rubin has never denied possessing and distributing the pot.
Ruben argued that his use and sale of marijuana was done as a religious practice, however the Los Angeles Superior court was not willing to hear this as a defense.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel placed Rubin on probation on condition that he serve 90 days in jail.
Upon appeal of this conviction, the judge approved the ruling of the trial court. According Justice Kenneth Yegan,
“[The] appellant presented no evidence that he was unable to practice his religious beliefs without selling marijuana or that he had to use marijuana to perform religious services…” Unlike the defendants in the cited cases, he added, “the ceremonial use of marijuana is not the sine qua non of appellant’s faith and religious beliefs.”
Ruben is currently running for Mayor of the City of Los Angeles.
– International Herald Tribune
– Metropolitan News-Enterprise