Hawaii senator rejects bid to free pot minister

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Associated Press

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 7:06 AM

HONOLULU (AP) — 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.

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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