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Jungle Beat: Love Story of Two Pioneers

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The thing that impressed me most about Share Christie when I interviewed her in my home recently was her love of animals.

"And who's this?" she asked when my old fat cat jumped up on our table. Share was enthralled with the wild birds at the feeder just outside the window and wanted to know what kind they were. We must have talked for five minutes about what breed of dog my big pet might be. And she gave many loving pats to both dog and cat.

This says a lot about a person's true essence and what's in her heart. Also close to Share's heart is her husband, Reverend Roger Christie, who has been held in federal prison in Honolulu since July 8, 2010. The charges against him are distribution, conspiracy and manufacturing of marijuana. Although Roger is licensed as a "cannabis sacrament minister" in the state of Hawaii, he and Share each face five to 40 years in federal prison. And though Share and the 13 others arrested at the time of Roger's arrest are free on bail, Roger remains in prison, without a trial, without bail.

But this article is not about marijuana, the Christies' arrest or Roger's incarceration. It's about the people, the loving couple that has been allowed to see each other only five times since their marriage on Jan. 6, 2012. "WHEN Roger is free, the first thing we'll do is have a honeymoon. This whole thing is not about cannabis," Share added, "it's about human rights. If it happened to us, it could happen to anybody."

Share and Roger first met in front of Abundant Life Natural Foods in Hilo in 2000. "He was with his girlfriend and I immediately liked how he treated her." But it wasn't until a fundraiser in 2007 that they made a permanent connection. "When I heard Roger speak, I thought, 'Oh my God!' I wasn't even interested in cannabis before that time, but I have been involved with herbs, holistic health, sweat lodges, vision quests and other forms of Native American healing, so when I heard Roger speak about cannabis in a sacred way - that was it!" Share was seeking a place to live shortly after that time and ended up renting a room in Roger's home -- "as a roommate." After three months, they became a couple. "As soon as he kissed my neck, it was over!" Share fondly recalls.

Roger had been single for many years and was reluctant to remarry due to a brief marriage when he was younger. Share explained, "We loved each other very much, but didn't get married until last year because it was the only way we could see each other while he's in prison." After nothing more than a quick kiss when their ceremony ended, the prison authorities escorted Share from the visitors' area. "We never have had a conjugal visit," she added sadly. "But we bless our troubles because we have more blessings than bummers. Roger is in good spirits -- he has been able to find the 'happy channel' in his head and is well liked in prison. Even some guards refer to him as 'Reverend'."

The website The-Last-Marijuana-Trial.com was created to provide news about the Christies' legal battles and to support Roger's efforts to attain a trial. Included are video clips of Roger testifying before the Hawaii County Council and State legislators, as well as related videos that cover medical marijuana research and other pertinent topics.

"When we win this case on the religious defense, it will help change the world for the better," Share concluded on a positive note.