MINOT, N.D. (AP) — A practicing Rastafarian has filed a lawsuit against a North Dakota county social services agency to get her name off a child abuse registry.

Judge Todd Cresap heard arguments Tuesday in Shanika Lister's civil lawsuit against Ward County Social Services, the Minot Daily News reported .

The North Central Human Service Center had placed Lister's name on the child abuse registry after the agency's director deemed services were required because her baby daughter had traces of marijuana in her system. The center is responsible for ensuring local county social service agencies, such as Ward County's, comply with state and federal policies.

Lister argues putting her name on the registry is illegal because a judge later ruled the woman's use of marijuana is a protected religious practice.

Rastafari is an Abrahamic religious sect that developed among disenfranchised Afro-Jamaican communities in the 1930s largely as a reaction against Jamaica's then-dominant British colonial culture. The religion promotes marijuana use in rituals and medicine.

Attorneys for the state and for individual social workers said Cresap should rule in their favor because they have immunity under state law. The attorneys also said that the center's then-director had discretion to place Lister on the registry.

Lister alleged the state lacked jurisdiction because she was an out-of-state resident. But Lister waived her right to make that claim when she failed to raise the issue during an administrative hearing, according to attorneys for the state.

Lister's attorney, Ashley Gulke, said that Lister didn't waive the jurisdiction argument. Gulke also argued that the other arguments should be decided by a jury during a civil trial.

Cresap said he will issue a ruling at a later date.


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com