Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 9, 2011
Church of the Universe in Legal Hot Water
The Hamilton-based Church of the Universe – a group that uses marijuana as a religious sacrament — won’t be sparking up with the blessings of the court.The Church, through its Toronto G13 mission, lost its bid Monday to be exempt from Canada’s pot laws.
It’s the latest defeat the church has had before the courts, including appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada on issues regarding its use of pot and other issues.
Last year, the federal court declined to hear appeals regarding the 2007 marijuana trafficking convictions against church founders Walter Tucker and Michael Baldasaro. In 1992, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by Tucker and his wife, Joanne, of a 1989 provincial court ruling that committed them for trial on drug charges.
Baldasaro, who ran for Hamilton mayor last year, was dismayed by the latest ruling, but said it won’t change their views. The judge said she found church members sincere in their use of pot but she did not think it was possible to create a workable religious exemption.
Meanwhile, The city is at risk of losing almost $1 million in revenue after councillors rejected a plan to ban grass clippings from green bins.
A plan to promote “grasscycling” — leaving grass clippings to decompose on lawns after mowing — was supposed to help the city make enough room in its composting plant to continue accepting organic waste from other cities. Currently, the city makes $940,000 each year selling compost space to Halton Region and Simcoe. (Continued: Hamilton Spectator)