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A pot-smoking church sued the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana on Wednesday, claiming laws against possession and use of marijuana infringe on its religious beliefs.
The First Church of Cannabis, formed as a test of Indiana's new religious objections law, filed its lawsuit in Marion Circuit Court in Indianapolis, naming multiple defendants including Gov. Mike Pence and state and local law enforcement officers.
The lawsuit claims church members believe marijuana is a sacrament that "brings us closer to ourselves and others. It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group."
The lawsuit says Indiana laws that make possession of marijuana or visiting a place where it is used a punishable offense place a burden on the church's exercise of religion, violating the state and U.S. constitutions.
"We are taking legal action today to ensure love has no barriers in our land," church founder Bill Levin, 59, said at a news conference in front of the Statehouse. "Today we invite the state of Indiana and all its leaders to joyfully meet us in a court of law for clarifications on our core religious values. We look forward to engaging them on the high plane of dignity and discipline, with love and compassion in our hearts, to find a swift and sensible answer for our questions of religious equality."
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