The Toham Temple of Healing and Meditation, which proclaims marijuana as its central sacrament, is being ordered to cease and desist dispensing marijuana by the City of Roseville.
The temple which opened mid-October, was ordered to stop the sale and dispensing of marijuana in an October 31 cease and desist letter, addressed from the city’s planning manager Gregory Bitter.
The Toham temple identifies as a Christian and Zen center where anyone from any background can become a member, according to its Weed Maps profile, a website that connects medical marijuana patients with dispensaries.
“We are not a medical dispensary,” the profile reads.
According to a November 3 response from the attorney representing the temple, it has stopped all activities related to marijuana but takes issue with the city’s order.
However, attorney Cristian Peirano claims that the temple is a church, not a dispensary, and his client has the right to provide worshippers with marijuana under federal law.
The temple itself is inside a large office space at 250 S. Hardin Boulevard next to a physical therapy center. Visitors are greeted by a host and armed security guard, then asked to sign and fill out a several page application, and pay at $15 lifetime membership fee.
Requests for comment were denied by Toham employees. On November 10, we spoke to a member of Toham, she asked not to reveal her name because of her career.
The member of Toham said she was required to show her medical cannabis recommendation before entering.
She says she then purchased several cannabis related products for her neurological condition.
“The City of Roseville maintains the sale and distribution of marijuana by the Temple of Healing and Meditation are in violation of the Roseville Municipal Code,” said city spokesperson Brian Jacobson in a text message. “There is very clear case law at both the State and Federal level that make clear there is no First Amendment protection for the sale and distribution of marijuana for religious purposes.”
Medical marijuana dispensaries have been banned in the city of Roseville since at least 2005. According to city law, violations may result being charged with a criminal misdemeanor.
This August, city leaders updated its ordinances to ban the delivery and sale of recreational marijuana ahead of the state recreational marijuana rules set to take effect in January of 2018.