By Justin Samuels
Elevation Ministries welcomes the community to the newly opened International Church of Cannabis.
The International Church of Cannabis is open for membership in Denver, Colorado. Members of the church partake in the sacred cannabis sacrament in order to aid their journey of self-discovery. Members tap into their own higher power and find their own truth with the universe. The church welcomes people from all religious backgrounds, and there are no requirements to change one’s religious beliefs or adapt any sort of dogma. Each member is free to attend, never attend, or attend as much as they would like.
The International Church of Cannabis opened to huge fanfare on 4/20/2017. The opening received positive international coverage. Many of the world’s biggest newspapers such as the New York Times and Metro: UK covered the church’s opening. 4/20 was chosen as the opening date due to the significance of 420 within the cannabis community.
The church is a based in a restored, 113-year-old chapel that is formerly a Lutheran church in Denver’s West Washington Park neighborhood. Okuda San Miguel painted the chapel ceiling, and Kenny Scharf painted the front of the church. The church has beautiful, vivid colors that create a welcoming environment for meditation and introspection.
To better serve its members the church continues the fundraising and restoration work. Among the current projects are replacing the boiler, building an elevator to make the building completely accessible to disabled people, refurbishing the kitchen, and other renovations that would enable more community projects to take place in the church, such as film screenings. The church has already held live music and comedy acts, and it offers wedding services as well. The International Church of Cannabis is the first American church to offer marriage ceremonies in a weed-friendly environment.
The church has a rapidly expanding membership. Partaking in the sacrament is for members only. The church is actively involved with the community, the neighborhoods, and the city. Members are welcome to volunteer. Members have already participated in the Great Denver Annual Cleanup. Future volunteer plans including volunteering at homeless shelters, outreach to the homeless, veteran homes, and at animal shelters.
The International Church of Cannabis is the first church in the United States that uses cannabis as sacrament under state law. Rastafarian churches in Jamaica and the Caribbean have long used cannabis as sacrament. Other cannabis churches are open in the United States, such as the First Church of Cannabis in Indiana and First Church of Cannabis of Florida under their state laws are not allowed to use cannabis as sacrament. These churches are battling for religious freedom and against the unconstitutional laws against cannabis. At the same time, these churches cooperate with state and local authorities regarding laws on cannabis. Nothing illegal under the respective state law happens on these premises. Cannabis churches have opened up organically and independent of each other.