Get so high you'll want to touch God at The First Church of Cannabis

Get so high you'll want to touch God at The First Church of Cannabis

VicesDecember 23, 2016 By Brian Frederick

Now I smoke me down to sleep, I pray Bob Marley my soul to keef, if I die before I bake, I pray the lord my bowl to take. Amen.

Imagine it: A religion completely dedicated to your favorite herb — congregations circling a low-lit room all smoking the finest danks, the entire time an old stoner preaches the word of the holy hybrids. Or is this just fantasy?

For now, it kind of is, but one Indiana religious sect — The First Church of Cannabis — is still trying to make it a reality.

In direct response to the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act — a controversial law that allows companies and individuals to claim religious persecution in legal proceedings — “Grand Poobah” Bill Levin started the church dedicated to weed because he now could. If bigots were going to get away with denying service to gays, why couldn’t he smoke an illegal substance if his beliefs directed him to do so, too?

It’s not as absurd as it seems, either, because Levin claims that it took less than 30 days to receive his tax-exempt status and the church is now officially recognized as a true religion.

The first gathering of self-proclaimed “Cannetarians” was held on July 1, 2015. The church had initially planned to allow parishioners to smoke on site, but after it was threatened with legal action and arrests by the state, members chose to back off, citing it would be easier to make its case in a lawsuit rather than a criminal trial.

An ongoing suit, in which the church is challenging state laws of infringing upon its right to use, was filed just days after the first meeting and is still pending.

The church even has its own commandments. The "Deity Dozen" is a set of guidelines put forth by Levin and his congregation:

1. Don’t be an asshole. Treat everyone with Love as an equal.
2. The day starts with your smile every morning. when you get up, wear it first.
3. Help others when you can. Not for money, but because it’s needed.
4. Treat your body as a temple. Do not poison it with poor quality foods and sodas.
5. Do not take advantage of people. Do not intentionally hurt anything.
6. Never start a fight… only finish them.
7. Grow food, raise animals get nature into your daily routine.
8. Do not be a “troll” on the internet, respect others without name calling and being vulgarly aggressive.
9. Spend at least 10 mins a day just contemplating life in a quiet space.
10. Protect those who can not protect themselves.
11. Laugh often, share humor. Have fun in life, be positive.
12. Cannabis, “the Healing Plant” is our sacrament. It brings us closer to ourselves and others. It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group.

Put some'n in the air for the lord!

[Photos: TIME, SBS]