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New trial for man who says smoking pot is part of his faith

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – A new trial has been ordered for a man from Vancouver who argues Canada’s anti-marijuana laws shouldn’t apply to him because smoking pot is part of his religion.  Christopher Bennett is a member of the Church of the Universe and believes marijuana is a spiritual aid.

“Mr. Bennett had a spiritual epiphany 20 years ago while consuming cannabis,” Bennett’s lawyer Kirk Tousaw tells News1130.  “He believes [marijuana] to be the Tree of Life referenced in the Bible, but more than that, he’s researched the role of cannabis in religion.  He’s published three books on the subject that cannabis may be the source of much religious belief and has been used as a spiritual aid in religious practice for millennia.”

Bennett applied for an exemption to Canada’s laws against pot, but his bid was rejected by a federal court judge.

“We were disappointed by the trial court’s decision for lot of reasons and we thought the decision itself was not factually or legally correct,” Tousaw says.  “Of course, we’re very gratified that the Court of Appeal agreed the Justice erred and that Mr. Bennett is going to get a new hearing.”

No new trial date has been set.