The Oklevueha Native American Church uses marijuana during service and recently lost an opportunity to fight for federal exemption. The U.S. Supreme Court has officially rejected a request to hear the case. The lawsuit has been ongoing since its initial filing in 2009.
The Church cited that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 protects minority religious expression, according to AU.org. The U.S. Supreme Court was the last opportunity for the church, as a lower court ruled that there wasn’t sufficient evidence proving that the members’ religious rights were being violated. The big mistake that church leaders made during this hearing was not discussing how the use of marijuana was associated with the church’s religious beliefs.
The one argument that was rejected by two courts, including a federal appeals court, is that church members used marijuana during sweat lodge ceremonies. It is in an effort to “connect them with their creator.”