International Church of Cannabis

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
International Church of Cannabis
International Church of Cannabis.JPG
The church building in 2018.
TypeCannabis-based New religious movement
RegionUnited States
HeadquartersDenver, Colorado
OriginApril 20, 2017
Denver
Congregations1 (Washington Park, Denver)
Official websitewww.elevationists.org

The International Church of Cannabis is a religious organization in Denver that uses cannabis as a sacrament and adheres to no specific dogma. Its members, known as Elevationists, claim that the use of cannabis helps elevate people to a higher understanding of self.[1][2]

The chapel headquarters, a converted old church painted by contemporary artists, opened its doors on April 20, 2017.[3] An amendment banning cannabis consumption in churches was submitted to the Colorado House of Representatives on the same day and rejected as an unconstitutional restriction on religion.[4]

Since smoking cannabis in public is banned in Colorado, no cannabis consumption is allowed during the hours when the church is open to the public.[5][6] A celebration of the "sacrament of cannabis," held only for members every Friday, is the only regular service in the church.[7][8]

Beliefs[edit]

Members of the International Church of Cannabis are known as Elevationists. They ritually use cannabis, which they call "the sacred flower," to accelerate and deepen self-discovery. A member is considered awakened when their cannabis experience becomes transcendental in nature. Elevationism claims no divine law and no unquestionable doctrine, while following the Golden Rule.[5][2]

Since 420 is a significant number for cannabis culture, the church opened its doors to the public on April 20[2] and its members light cannabis at 4:20 p.m.[1] This celebration of the "sacrament of cannabis," held every Friday, is the only regular service in the church.[7] The symbol of the church is a set of interlocking triangles.[6]

By itself, ritual use of cannabis is not a modern invention, as it appeared in several world religions over a period of 3,000 years.[9] Also, the International Church of Cannabis is just one of several modern religious organizations that consider cannabis a sacrament.[7]

In May 2017, the church announced that it would begin offering wedding services in a "cannabis-friendly" environment.[10]

Membership[edit]

Members of any religion can become Elevationists without the need to convert, since Elevationism is seen as a supplement rather than a replacement to existing faith. The only restriction is that persons under 21 years of age are not allowed into the church when cannabis is being burned.[5] The church does not have a formal hierarchy.[2]

The church’s membership increased to 200 people from around 50 on the opening week after increased media attention.[1] It allegedly rose to 500 in the next two weeks.[6]

Legal status[edit]

Elevation Ministries, the religious nonprofit organization behind the church,[1] was formally established in Colorado in September 2016.[11][12][13]

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012,[14] but it is currently still illegal to smoke in Denver’s public spaces. All ritual cannabis use at the church is by invitation only.[6] The church also does not sell marijuana.[2] On the federal level, Elevationism is protected by constitutional religious freedom as long as it is considered an authentic religious belief.[15]

Dan Pabon, a Democrat in the Colorado House of Representatives, proposed an amendment banning cannabis consumption in churches on 20 April 2017, the same day the church opened. He confirmed that his move was inspired by the International Church of Cannabis. However, members of both parties in the House concluded it would be an unconstitutional restriction on religion. They rejected his proposal and the amendment was not formally introduced.[1][16][4]

Church building[edit]

The church is housed in a 113-year-old structure in Denver’s Washington Park neighborhood.[2] It is a converted Lutheran church,[17] which used to be called Mount Calvary Apostolic Church.[16] The church property was purchased in July 2015 by a company co-owned by church co-founder Steve Berke and his parents with the intention to turn it into apartments. However, Berke's colleagues and friends, who later became co-founding members of the church, convinced him, and eventually the company, to establish a new church in lieu of converting the building into condos.[11]

An Indiegogo campaign to fund repairs on the building raised $40,000.[18] Renovations began July 2016.[19]

The colorful surrealist interior paintings, with geometric neon colors and images of animals, were done by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel, who had already painted abandoned churches in Spain and Morocco.[20] American artist Kenny Scharf painted the facade with graffiti-inspired murals.[6]

In March 2017, Elevation Ministries established a two-year licensing and management agreement with Bang Digital Media, a publicly traded company founded by church co-founder Steve Berke, which does marketing work for the cannabis industry.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Jacey Fortin (April 20, 2017), "Marijuana on Religious Grounds? A Cannabis Church Opens in Denver", The New York Times
  2. ^ a b c d e f Blumberg, Antonia (21 April 2017). "Step Inside The Technicolor World Of The International Church Of Cannabis". The Huffington Post.
  3. ^ Zach Harris (April 13, 2017), "Denver's New "International Church of Cannabis" Will Open for Worship on 4/20", Merry Jane
  4. ^ a b "Colorado House rejects late attempt to bar pot use in churches". The Denver Post. 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "About Us". Elevationists.
  6. ^ a b c d e Kane, Laura (3 May 2017). "Puff, puff, pray: Inside Colorado's International Church of Cannabis". Times Colonist.
  7. ^ a b c Warner, Joel. "Getting High and Holy at the International Church of Cannabis". Men's Journal.
  8. ^ Alex Pasquariello (April 21, 2017), "Denver cannabis church's debut doesn't go exactly as planned", The Cannabist, Denver Post
  9. ^ Ferrara, Mark S. (2016). Sacred Bliss: A Spiritual History of Cannabis. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 7–9. ISBN 9781442271913.
  10. ^ Garrison, Robert. "Denver's International Church of Cannabis now offering 'weed weddings'". The Denver Channel.
  11. ^ a b Brennan, Noel (13 April 2017). "The International Church of Cannabis has arrived in Denver". 9 News.
  12. ^ a b Alex Pasquariello, (April 12, 2017), "Following the paper trail of The International Church of Cannabis", The Cannabist, Denver PostCS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  13. ^ Nagels, Philipp (24 April 2017). "Das musst du über die neu gegründete Cannabis-Kirche wissen" (in German). Die Welt.
  14. ^ Smith, Aaron (8 November 2012). "Marijuana legalization passes in Colorado, Washington". CNN.
  15. ^ Forsythe, Jerilyn (18 April 2017). "The International Church of Cannabis Opens 4/20". 5280 Magazine.
  16. ^ a b "The Latest: Colorado rejects attempt to ban pot churches". Fox News. 20 April 2017.
  17. ^ Sholl, Alice (17 April 2017). "The International Church of Cannabis is about to open its doors". Metro.
  18. ^ Gerson, Avi. "The International Church of Cannabis". IndieGoGo.
  19. ^ Chris Perez (April 12, 2017), "'Church of Cannabis' will open on 4/20 — of course", The New York Post
  20. ^ Bathgate, Rae (9 June 2017). "The Michelangelo of Cannabis - Meet Artist Okuda San Miguel". 303 Magazine.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°42′33″N 104°58′56″W / 39.709202°N 104.982319°W / 39.709202; -104.982319