(Photo: Time Magazine video screen grab)
A California couple claim that they own and operate a medical marijuana dispensary in order to help the sick and spread the Gospel at the same time.
Bryan and Lanette Davies began selling marijuana out of their Canna Care shop after claiming that God spoke to them. Now they consider themselves Sacramento's only evangelical medical cannabis provider.
"I started praying, 'Please help me Lord, I need to do something to be able to earn money.' So He (God) said, 'Open up a pot shop. Who are you not to do my will?'" said Bryan, according to TIME magazine.
The Davies opened the medical marijuana shop with the intent of targeting men ages 20 to 30, because "they'll spend the most on cannabis." Seven years later, the dispensary has gained a loyal clientele and serves as a vehicle to spread Christianity, according to Bryan.
"I've been coming here for four years and I'm a very satisfied customer," said Martina, reports TIME. "You can't judge people for sinning differently than you … weed was grown in the garden of Eden, so it's nothing but God around here."
In addition, the Davies place Bibles throughout the shop for customers to have and each day they set aside time for shop employees to pray, and include customers who want to join.
"Some people come in here and have cancer and some die. A lot of them have been Christian and believers that were pissed at God, so that's why all of a sudden the prayers started here," added Bryan.
Lannette says running the shop has been an educational process as they help patients with medically approved identification cards who suffer from cancer, arthritis and various other ailments.
"God created this. … It is a medicine and when it comes down to it, God's commandment to us is to care for the sick and ill. … If I thought for one minute that this is not the way He wanted for us to go, we would not be here," Lannette said. "Jesus Christ made a statement that all people should care for one another, and this is our way of taking that to our community."
Although their business is legal in California, Canna Care is currently in court fighting against tax penalties. The IRS wants over $800,000 from the pair based on a 1982 tax code known as 280E that penalizes deductions on business expenses that technically support drug-trafficking operations.
"I think the court case is something God has provided for us as an opportunity," said Lannette. "We did keep completely clean records, everything was done absolutely correctly to the point that we did pass an audit," said Lanette. "They (IRS) allow you to take the cannabis as your deduction, but they disallow you all the legal expenses. … But then they make this deal: 'If you give us a couple extra percent of your growth sales, this all goes behind you.' So is it federally illegal or not? Because you'll allow us to stay in business if we give you more money."
The couple is waiting on a court ruling which they will appeal if necessary. However, they plan is to continue business as usual until then.