Indiana has a real church with an altar dedicated to marijuana. That’s right. There’s also a church choir for the Church of Cannabis, and they play a pretty mean rendition of “Mary Jane,” the tribute to the drug of worship.
Bill Levin, the leader (dare I call him a priest?) of this new church, ends services with the commandment: “Light up, folks!”
The Church of Cannabis was organized by Levin, who wanted to test the state of Indiana’s new freedom of religion laws. With his crazy hair (you absolutely have to see the video), Levin organized and bought the church as a way to test the state’s new and controversial Freedom of Religion law (some say it’s being used to discriminate against gay people). But not only that, he took things a step further to see if the religious freedom law would protect and permit marijuana use.
In Indiana, marijuana remains illegal, but Levin thought, What if you’re smoking pot as part of a broader spiritual philosophy? Basically, he began testing boundaries. He also seems to be dead serious about pot smoking being a part of his ‘new’ religion:
“This is not just smoking pot and getting high. It’s about the birth of a new religion. I’m a smile harvester,” he said
Some legal experts are predicting that Mr. Levin may have trouble proving that pot smoking is truly tied to religious expression. But Mr. Levin doesn’t really seem to care.
“This is an honest-to-God religion,” he said. “Other religions have sins and guilt. We’re going to have a really big love-in.”
Some people nearby, conservative Christians mostly, are offended by Levin’s antics. And they are protesting. The police also made it clear to Levin and company that pot remains illegal in Indiana. Smoking marijuana at the First Church of Cannabis’s services could bring them criminal charges, they warned.
Because of the warning, Levin used a cigar instead of a joint at the end of his service to avoid arrest. Some others lit cigarettes. No one, thankfully, was arrested at the end of this interesting church’s first ever service. They saved their weed for a more private ‘prayer’ we suppose.