A Hollywood church that burned marijuana during services and distributed it to members is protected under federal law because the drug is a religious sacrament, the leader of the congregation argued in a hearing before his drug possession trial Tuesday.

The Rev. Craig X Rubin, 41, the leader of the 420 Temple who has appeared in episodes of the Showtime comedy “Weeds,” faces up to seven years in prison if convicted of possessing marijuana for sale. Jury selection was set to begin Tuesday afternoon.