During the raid, officers broke equipment, damaged property and took cannabis sacrament, according to church officials. In response to the raid, the church filed a claim on Feb. 21 seeking substantial damages from the City of San Diego for injuries suffered by church members and for violating state and federal law.
In the claim, Sacred Source, along with the Association of Sacramental Ministries, allege the City violated church members’ religious rights.
“The police are not raiding other churches that regularly provide wine to their members without state permits to do so. Nor do they raid churches that take 10 percent of members’ annual income promising eternal life. Cannabis has been used as a religious entheogen and healing sacrament for thousands of years – far longer than wine has been used,” said Alanna Reeves, president of the church association. Reeves went on to say the church had a business license despite a San Diego Police Department press release stating it did not.
Since recreational cannabis regulations became effective in California on Jan. 1, state and local government entities have taken rapid action to close unlicensed marijuana dispensaries.
Mike Cindrich, a San Diego attorney representing Sacred Source Sanctuary, said: “A church is not a marijuana dispensary. Sacred Source church members have cannabis as their central sacrament, as many religious entities do around the world. Local and state concern about getting nearly 40 percent tax revenue is not a basis for attacking a church and doing substantial damage to the church’s property.”
For more information, contact Alanna Reeves, president of the Association of Sacramental Ministries, at -603-834-5590.