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Senator rejects bid to free 'marijuana minister'

Published On: Apr 10 2013 02:45:40 PM HST
Roger Christie

Roger Christie

HONOLULU -

Hawaii Senate judiciary committee Chairman Clayton Hee has shot down two resolutions asking federal authorities to release Roger Christie from federal prison on bail.

Hee deferred the measures Wednesday without a committee vote.

The Big Island resident and founder of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, which considers marijuana use to be a sacrament, has been in jail since 2010.  Christie is known as the "marijuana minister."

He has been charged with growing and possessing marijuana with the intent to sell.

Several community groups are pressing for Christie's release, saying keeping him imprisoned for so long violates his constitutional rights.

The Department of Public Safety opposed the resolutions.

Sen. Russell Ruderman from the Big Island introduced the measures.  He says Christie is a peaceful man.  Ruderman visited Christie in prison last week along with Sen. Will Espero.

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