ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A marijuana controversy is brewing in Roseville after a group claiming to be a church opened a temple that uses marijuana in its practice.
The Temple of Healing and Meditation opened in October in a business plaza off Harding Boulevard.
The city, however, claims it's a dispensary, not a church. Because dispensaries are against city ordinances, it sent a cease and desist letter to the business on Oct. 31, telling them to stop operating immediately.
The Temple of Healing and Meditation is still open. Their attorney says they're a church not a dispensary, and they should have legal protection because of it. The use of marijuana he says is central to their beliefs.
"The smoke represents prayer, and by rising into the air, it symbolizes the ritual that our prayers go to heaven," said Cristian Luis Peirano.
Peirano cites Title 22 of the U.S. Code in his claim that the temple should have a religious right to use marijuana. The city of Roseville issued a statement refuting that claim.
"The City of Roseville maintains the sale and distribution of marijuana by the Temple of Healing and Meditation are in violation of the Roseville Municipal Code.
There is very clear case law at both the State and Federal level that make clear there is no First Amendment protection for the sale and distribution of marijuana for religious purposes.
The correspondence received from the attorney for Temple of Healing and Meditation incorrectly quotes a prior version of the Roseville Municipal Code that was amended last summer and inapplicable US Treaty law. "
Peirano says the city has other motives.
"The reason why they issued the cease and desist is because they discriminate against anyone involved in marijuana. Their intent behind why they wrote the letter on paper is probably different that what their real intent is for trying to shut the place down,"
And he says the church will take matters as far as necessary.
"If they are going to discriminate and pass laws that don't comply with the adult use act and the way it should have been processed, then basically they will have a fight on their hands."
It's still unclear how the city plans to enforce the order.
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