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Madison police cracking down on church's marijuana use

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Madison officials are trying to stop a downtown church from openly using and distributing marijuana, an activity its operators say is a religious and inalienable right.

Two Stoughton men have been operating the Lion of Judah House of Rastafari church in a storefront since March and are distributing marijuana as a sacrament to church members for donations.

Jesse Schworck and Dylan Bangert say the church is rooted in Rastafarianism, a religious movement that employs the ritualistic use of marijuana.

The State Journal says Madison police have visited the establishment and confiscated several jars of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Police also notified the landlord she must stop the activity.

Schworck says he's filing for a federal injunction to stop what he says is harassment and intimidation by authorities.

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