Indiana ‘Religious Freedom’ Law Spawns First Church of Cannabis

Will the Church of Cannabis be respected by RFRA?

March 31, 2015—People of a live-and-let-live attitude are outraged by Indiana’s new law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).Critics of the new law say it promotes discrimination against LGBT and other minority communities. But Bill Levin isn’t mad, just getting even.

Levin founded The First Church of Cannabis, Inc. in response to RFRA. Yes, the official sacrament of the church is cannabis, but with marijuana being illegal for medical, recreational, and (gasp) religious purposes, they are sticking to growing hemp only. For now.

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RFRA keeps the government out of an individual’s religious decisions except where there is an imperative state interest.

“If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them,” Levin told the Washington Post. “This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called ‘cannataerians.'”

The First Church of Cannabis is planning to be the first to worship in a building made of hempcrete which is like concrete but with…well, you get it. Givens wants to treat heroin addicts and alcoholics, in part using the “Deity Dozen”:


Did the First Church of Cannabis find a loophole in RFRA to smoke pot legally in Indiana? On the Indy Politics blog, attorney Abdul-Hakim Shabazz says:

“…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.

Remember, under RFRA, the state has to articulate a compelling interest in preventing you from smoking pot. I argue they can’t. First of all, by my last count, about 19 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Nearly two dozen states have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes. And if I can use pot to help heal my body, why can’t I use it to help heal my soul?”

Do you think the Church of Cannabis will turn people into fans of RFRA? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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Washington Post
Indy Politics

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