SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The shooting of two California deputies responding to a disturbance at a Rastafarian marijuana farm has drawn attention to religious use of the drug, sparking debate over whether churches should be protected from drug prosecutions.
Religious organizations throughout California have been growing marijuana for ceremonial purposes for years — and have been losing in court for just as long.
That’s because there is no religious exemption to state and federal marijuana bans, and there won’t be any special treatment when California legalizes pot next year.
That’s unlikely to stop Heidi and Charles Lepp, a Sacramento couple affiliated with the church where Tuesday’s shooting occurred.
Heidi Lepp launched her Sugarleaf Rastafarian Church in 2014 while Charles was serving eight years in federal prison after openly growing more than 20,000 pot…