By now, many people in the U.S. have heard about the heinously discriminatory and appropriately controversial Religious Free Restoration Act (RFRA) that’s already had financial and social backlash for the state. Performers and entertainers have cancelled shows, companies have withdrawn their business and other states have openly condemned the backwards law in support of the LGBT community in Indiana.
If nothing else, there has been one group that has actually found one single pleasant thing about the act Governor Mike Pence signed and they’ve decided to take the language of the law into their own hands by starting The First Church of Cannabis.
Bill Levin is the man behind the group who filed paperwork immediately following the RFRA’s passing. According to reports, the church is all about extending love and compassion to all and will grow hemp. The main sacrament is cannabis and even though the group has no plans to sale or purchase it, Levin is completely and entirely open to members consuming the plant as part of their practice.
“If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them,” Levin said. “This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called ‘cannataerians.’”
While Governor Pence may have been trying to find legal ways to condone and allow the hatred of baseless discrimination, he also unknowingly opened the doors for groups to come forward proclaiming their right to freely express their religious acts in whatever way their view most pious. For this reason, The First Church of Cannabis will likely be a very real and hilariously legal institution in real life, not just on paper and in the news.
Indiana attorney and political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz commented on the situation, noting that the state would have a hard time overturning the organization.
“You see, if I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scott-free,” he wrote. “Remember, under RFRA, the state has to articulate a compelling interest in preventing you from smoking pot. I argue they can’t.”
Levin is adamant that there’s more to the church than just smoking weed.
“I’m very faith-driven, I’m very spiritual and I’m filled with love,” he said. “I find that most religions are misled into gross perversions of what they are meant to be. This path has led me to lead a religion that people in today’s world can relate to it. We don’t have any guilt doctrine built in. We don’t have any sin built in.”
Would you attend The First Church of Cannabis? Tell us why or why not in the comments.