IN THE COUNTY COURT OF THE THIRTEENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
IN AND FOR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FLORIDA
CRIMINAL JUSTICE DIVISION
STATE OF FLORIDA,
JEFFREY ALLAN BROWN,
CASE NUMBER 99-04677MMAWS
DECLARATION OF CARL ERIC OLSEN
I, Carl Eric Olsen, do hereby declare the following:
1. I reside in the United States, the State of Iowa, the City of Des Moines, 1116 East Seneca Avenue, Apartment 3, Postal Zip Code 50316.
2. I met the defendant, Jeffrey Allan Brown, at the headquarters of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church at 43 Star Island, Miami Beach, Florida in late 1970s, and have maintained regular contact with him for the past two decades.
3. In 1973, I became a practicing member of a Rastafarian sect which later became known to me as the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church.
4. The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church was incorporated under the laws of Jamaica in 1976. See attached articles of Incorporation.
5. The History of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church is recorded in two documents written by Elder Walter Wells in the late 1970s. One document is a letter that was written to, and published in, The Miami Herald. The other document was passed on to me by members of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church. These two documents are attached to this affidavit.
6. On November 1, 1979, the Supreme Court of Florida found that: "(1) the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church represents a religion within the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States; (2) the 'use of cannabis is an essential portion of the religious practice'; ..." and "... (8) members of the church believe that cannabis is the mystical body and blood of 'Jes-us'; ..." Town v. State ex rel. Reno, 377 So.2d 648, 649 (Fla. 1979). The Court further found: "... the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church is not a new church or religion but the record reflects it is centuries old and has regularly used cannabis as its sacrament." Id.
7. On August 29, 1984, I became the Registered Agent of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church under the laws of the state of Florida. See Florida Secretary of State web site (http://www.dos.state.fl.us/doc/) Corporation P03208 (involuntarily dissolved on November 1, 1985 because I left the state of Florida and moved to the state of Iowa).
8. On October 15, 1986, I incorporated The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church under the laws of the state of Iowa. See Iowa Secretary of State web site (http://www.sos.state.ia.us/corpweb/) Corporation 111308.
9. In 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States denied constitutional protection for the sacramental use of ganja by members of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church. See Carl Eric Olsen v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 878 F.2d 1458 (D.C. Cir. 1989), certiorari denied, 495 U.S. 906 (1990); see also, Carl Eric Olsen v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 776 F.2d 267 (11th Cir. 1985), certiorari denied, 475 U.S. 906 (1986).
10. In 1990, the Supreme Court of the United States denied constitutional protection for the sacramental use of peyote by members of the Native American Church. Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990). The Supreme Court cited Olsen v. Drug Enforcement Administration, 878 F.2d 1458 as an example of a constitutional claim which would merit protection, if constitutional protection were given to the sacramental use of peyote. Id. 494 U.S. at 890.
11. There is no factual or legal difference between the sacramental use of ganja by the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church and the sacramental use of peyote by the Native American Church. See Marijuana as a "Holy Sacrament": Is the Use of Peyote Constitutionally Distinguishable From That of Marijuana in Bona Fide Religious Ceremonies? By Cynthia S. Mazur, Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, Volume 5, Issue No. 3, 1991, pages 693-727.
12. In 1990, I stopped practicing my religion because I interpreted the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in Olsen v. Drug Enforcement Administration and Employment Division, Department of Human Resources or Oregon v. Smith as threatening me with violence for continuing to practice my religion. I did not stop believing in the sacramental nature of ganja. I stopped using ganja. "I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war." Psalm 120:7. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
13. In 1993, the Congress of the United States unanimously passed, and President Clinton signed into law, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, specifically overturning the Supreme Courtís decision in Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith. 107 Stat. 1488, Public Law 103-141 (Nov. 16, 1993).
14. In 1994, the Congress of the United States passed, and President Clinton signed into law, The American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments, to provide for the traditional use of peyote by Indians for religious purposes. 108 STAT. 3126, Public Law 103-344 (Oct. 6, 1994).
15. On June 25, 1997, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act does not apply to the states. City of Boerne v. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, et al., certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit, No. 95-2074, Argued February 19, 1997, Decided June 25, 1997.
16. I believe that one of the names of God is Rastafari.
17. I believe that we are the body of Christ. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many." 1 Corinthians 12:12-14. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
18. I believe that ganja is my birthright. "And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat." Genesis 1:29. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
19. I believe that God smokes. "There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it." 1 Samuel 22:9; Psalm 18:8. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
20. I believe that God spoke to Moses in a burning bush. "And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush." Acts 7:30. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
21. I believe it is the custom of a priest to burn incense in the temple. "According to the custom of the priestís office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord." Luke 1:9. "And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angelís hand." Revelation 8:3-4. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
22. I believe that my body is the temple of God. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16. The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
23. In 1980, I was part of study performed on 10 members of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church. The conclusion of that study stated, "Finally, we stress the commitment of the ten subjects to their religious sect and way of life. They told us and others that members of the church do not use substances (drugs, alcohol, or psychoactive herbs other than ganja, and we observed them to maintain a regular diet consisting primarily of vegetables, fruit, and small amounts of meat. All ten subjects (as well as other members of the church) appear to be healthy and highly functional individuals adhering to a strict religious doctrine." Cognition and Long-Term Use of Ganja (Cannabis), Science, 24 July 1981, Volume 213, pp. 465-466.
24. The January 2, 1981 summary of my personal evaluation states, "Mr. Carl Olsen is a 28-year-old, Caucasian, male. He is a member of the ETHIOPIAN COPTIC ZION CHURCH and resides at 43 Star Island Drive, Miami, Florida. This neuropsychological evaluation was undertaken at the request of Mr. Olsen in an effort to characterize current mental functioning in light of very heavy and prolonged use of ganja (cannabis). A urine sample taken at the time of this evaluation confirmed the presence of cannabinoid metabolites in Mr. Olsen's body. The results of this study did not suggest that cerebral/cognitive dysfunction was present in any way whatsoever. According to the well-recognized Wechsler criteria, Mr. Olsen is functioning at the very superior level of intellectual ability. There was no evidence to suggest impairment of mental functioning characteristic of damage or dysfunction of the central nervous system. Further, there was nothing found that could suggest that Mr. Olsen was in error if he believes that his mental abilities have actually improved as a result of heavy and long-term use of ganja (canabis)." NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION, April 26, 1980. Jeffrey Schaeffer, PH.D., Director, Neuropsychological Laboratory, NEUROSCIENCE ASSOCIATES INCORPORATED, A PSYCHOLOGICAL CORPORATION, 6317 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 606, Los Angeles, California 90048, (213) 275-9553.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ß 1746, I declare under penalty of perjury that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed on: November 8, 1999, at Des Moines, IA.
Carl Eric Olsen
DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO IN MY AFFIDAVIT
History of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church:
Cognition and Long-Term Use of Ganja (Cannabis):
City of Boerne v. Flores:
Olsen v. DEA:
Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy:
Employment Division v. Smith:
Religious Freedom Restoration Act:
American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments: