The spiritual and ritual use of marijuana is not a new thing. People have been using cannabis for thousands of years to access altered states of consciousness and connect to the divine. The use of low dosages of marijuana for spiritual purposes dates all the way back to the Vedas, an ancient Hindu text that dates back thousands of years. So it’s not surprising that in today’s culture, where the boundaries of religion and spirituality are consistently being pushed, that a church with a similar intent would be formed.
In Praise of the Sacred Flower
The International Church of Cannabis, based out of Denver, Colorado, opened on April 20th; a day that is highly celebrated by marijuana enthusiasts. Members call themselves the Elevationists and marijuana is referred to as “the sacred flower.” The principles of the church are based on the idea that people are going through their own individual journeys for spiritual meaning and self-discovery which can be deepened by using marijuana in a sacred and ritualistic way.
Striking Down the Ban of Marijuana in Religious Services
While the church is located in Denver, Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adult use, the state still does not permit the public use of the plant. This brought rise to a measure proposed to the state’s House of Representatives that would block the church from being able to use marijuana for public ceremony. Thankfully, the measure was swiftly brought down as legislators referred to the proposition as unconstitutional. The amendment was brought forward by Dan Pabon, who is a Democrat in the House of Representatives. It would have banned the use of marijuana in churches.
Democrat Joe Salazar was one of the many legislators who opposed Pabon’s amendment, stating “I thought that this was engaging in a nanny state. I completely disagree with saying that a person can worship in one particular way or the other and that that’s going to be regulated by the state.”
First Day of Service
One of the founders, Lee Molloy, said that members of the church would be respectful of state laws and meet with city officials to ensure that they continue to adhere to city regulations as they change. The church has now officially opened its doors, receiving hundreds of guests on April 20th until 2PM, at which point the doors closed so that a select group of invited guests could light up together at 4:20PM, a time that marijuana users across the country use to light up in celebration of marijuana.
The intentions held by the church and its founding members is to positively influence the community, uniting members and allowing space for people to come forward and volunteer their skills and talents towards making the city a better place for everyone.