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14 Hawaii religious marijuana advocates indicted

The founder and director of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry and 13 associates are facing federal marijuana charges. Federal authorities told in a news conference on Friday that Roger Christie led a major marijuana growing, processing and distribution ring.

world Updated: Jul 10, 2010 10:09 IST

The founder and director of The Hawaii Cannabis Ministry and 13 associates are facing federal marijuana charges. Federal authorities told in a news conference on Friday that Roger Christie led a major marijuana growing, processing and distribution ring.

Christie says he uses marijuana as a sacrament. But authorities say neither his ministry nor state medical marijuana laws protect him from federal prosecution.

Federal officials seized 3,000 plants, with a retail value of $4.8 million. Four big island residences are facing forfeiture. The defendants were arrested on Thursday and flown to Honolulu. Authorities say six were released on bond. Christie and seven others remain in custody pending detention hearings next week.