Current Page: U.S. | Wednesday, July 01, 2015
Indiana Pot Church to Hold Weed-Less 'Worship Service' Amid Concerns of Arrest for Illegal Use of Marijuana

Indiana Pot Church to Hold Weed-Less 'Worship Service' Amid Concerns of Arrest for Illegal Use of Marijuana

Bill Levin is the founder of Indiana's First Church of Cannabis, a religious organization pushing the boundaries of recreational marijuana use. | (Photo: Facebook/Bill Levin)

The First Church of Cannabis, a so-called religious group, says it will abstain from using marijuana during its opening worship service, according to it's leader, amid concerns that police might arrest those in attendance because pot is illegal in Indiana.

The Indianapolis-based "church," which garnered national headlines earlier this year by becoming an officially recognized religious sect, announced Monday that marijuana will not be part of its first service.

Bill Levin, leader of the group, commented on social media that he's concerned about potential police action against the First Church of Cannabis if people use the banned substance during Wednesday's service.

"The police department has wagged a display of shameless misconceptions and voluntary ignorance," Levin claimed during an interview with 7 News.

"Due to the threat of police action against our religion, I feel it's important to celebrate life's great adventure in our first service without the use of cannabis."

The First Church of Cannabis was established in March, following the controversy over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Set to take effect Wednesday, Indiana's RFRA says the government cannot "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow their religious beliefs unless it proves a compelling interest in imposing that burden and does so in the least restrictive way possible.

In May, Levin discussed with media his plans for the first worship service, attempting to have the church violate state law on marijuana use by claiming a religious exemption courtesy of RFRA.

Levin said the service will open with "Amazing Grace" being played on a harmonica by a popular young musician and will move to a quick sermon followed by a "call to worship," which is a time for members to smoke.

"I'm an old school producer," Levin told U.S. News. "We start off the show soft and we have a build-up and then in the end we explode in glory and we all dance around the hall."

Last month, the church even released its own version of the Ten Commandments, titled "The New Deity Dozen."

Among these commands included: "Don't be an [expletive]; help others when you can; never start a fight … only finish them; do not be a 'troll' on the Internet; [and] respect others without name calling and being vulgarly aggressive."

The New Deity Dozen also described marijuana as "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," concluded the NDD.


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