A Marion County Judge has ruled while the First Church of Cannabis (FCOC) might be a church, it has no right to use cannabis as part of its sacrament.

In an order issued late Friday, a Marion County judge ruled the state’s prohibition against legal marijuana outweighed any religious freedom argument pushed by organizers of the FCOC.

The Court said the FCOC failed to show how its interested in using marijuana was greater than the public safety and public health concerns argued by the state.

It is compelling and appropriate to treat the illicit drug market in a unitary way,” the court stated in its ruling. “It would be impossible to combat illicit drug use and trade in a piecemeal fashion that allowed for a religious exception that would become ripe for abuse.”

You read a copy of the opinion here.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office praised the ruling.  “I appreciate the court’s fidelity to both the law and to common sense,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said. “Indiana’s laws against the possession, sale and use of marijuana protect the health, safety and well-being of Hoosiers statewide. When the state has justifiable and compelling interests at stake, no one can evade the law simply by describing their illegal conduct as an exercise of religious faith.”

The FCOC says it plans to appeal the ruling.