March 6, 2018 – Los Angeles, CA — On November 15, 2017, deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department raided the Hundred Harmonies Association of Faith, a cannabis church in La Puente, California. During the raid, deputies broke equipment, damaged property and took cannabis sacrament used by members in religious ceremonies. According to the church’s head minister, Rev. James Young Phan, several weeks prior to the raid, an associate priest from a nearby Catholic church harassed Hundred Harmonies members and demanded the church close.
In response to the raid, the church filed a claim against the County in December 2017 seeking damages for injuries suffered by church members and for violating state and federal law. In the claim, Hundred Harmonies church, along with the Association of Sacramental Ministries, allege the City violated church members’ religious rights. “Cannabis is central and vital to our religious beliefs,” said Rev. Phan. Alanna Reeves, president of Association of Sacramental Ministries, commented on the raid saying, “It is completely inappropriate for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to raid the Hundred Harmonies church after a priest from a much larger and established religion that has wine as its sacrament came to Hundred Harmonies, chastised its members and demanded it close.”
Mike Cindrich, a San Diego attorney representing the church in a lawsuit filed this week against Los Angeles County said, “A church is not a marijuana dispensary simply because it believes cannabis is its religious sacrament. State and federal law protect minority religions from discrimination and preferring a church that has alcohol as its sacrament is simply wrong. For thousands of years, cannabis has been used in religions around the world as an entheogen and sacrament.”
Hundred Harmonies Association of Faith and the Association of Sacramental Ministries will hold a press conference on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. at Emerald Church of Open Faith, 25332 Narbonne Ave Suite 160, Lomita, CA 90717. For more information, please contact Alanna Reeves, president of the Association of Sacramental Ministries, at (603) 834-5590 or Brent David Fraser at (424) 285-4612.