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Court not swayed by religion in Michigan marijuana case

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A federal appeals court has found nothing heavenly about a Michigan's man claim to have a religious right to grow pot.

The court on Thursday upheld an 18-month prison sentence for Brendan Barnes. In 2014, Lansing authorities responding to a gas leak found 321 plants at his house. Police found more marijuana at another house in Marshall.

Barnes claimed he was growing marijuana under a religious exemption from the Oklevueha Native American Church. He said he paid $25 for a membership card and $200 to possess sacraments.

But the appeals court says Barnes' belief in marijuana appears to be a personal one, not one rooted in religion. The court says there's no requirement that he grow marijuana or donate it to the church.

The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.