Wisconsin Police Raid Rastafarian Church, Arrest Leaders For Distributing Cannabis

A showdown between a Wisconsin Rastafarian church and law enforcement over the church’s right to distribute marijuana to its congregants reached a climax on Wednesday morning. Dane County Narcotics Task Force raided Lion of Judah House of Rastafari, arrested its two founders, and detained several people on site.

“We are practicing religious freedom,” said Jerry Sersch, one of the church’s maintenance workers who was present for the 8:30 a.m. raid. Sersch and his father Byron reported that police shone lasers in their faces with their weapons drawn, and that they were put into separate squad cars while officers shattered church windows and confiscated herb that the place of worship uses in its rites. “I thought I was going to get shot,” Jerry continued, as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.

A neighbor told the Cap Times that some 30 officers were present for the raid.

“It’s just a church, man, [marijuana] is sacrament,” said the elder Sersch. “I don’t get it.”

Church co-founder Jesse Schworck was arrested in the raid, as was co-founder Dylan Paul Bangert when he arrived on the scene nearly three hours later.

The Lion of Judah House of Rastari opened its doors in March. Its website

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