Do you believe in the powers of marijuana and desire a creative space to share your philosophical beliefs concerning the plant while smoking among like-minded individuals? Then you way want to consider becoming an “Elevationist” at the International Church of Cannabis in Denver, Colorado.
The church is ardent in its belief that marijuana is a magical substance that exposes the best version of one’s self through the discovery of their own unique and creative voice when consuming the plant.
“Our lifestance is that an individual’s spiritual journey, and search for meaning, is one of self-discovery that can be accelerated with cannabis use,” the website states. The church encourages its members to further enrich their community with the fruits of this weed-induced creativity.
Unlike other religions, Elevationists don’t ask their members to convert; they rather co-exist among other established beliefs meaning, at the International Church of Cannabis, members can be both a Christian, Catholic, etc. and an Elevationist. Anybody and everybody is welcome to visit the colorful space as long as they’re over the age of 21 and live by the church’s golden rule: you treat others the way you wish to be treated.
The church is the first large venue in the world where adults can legally consume cannabis in a public environment. However, this inaugural advantage may only be temporary. While Colorado law doesn’t currently ban or permit marijuana clubs, lawmakers are considering a bill that would give power to local government on deciding whether or not to allow social pot clubs.
The church is currently trying to raise $100,000 through an Indiegogo campaign to repair and upgrade the 100-year-old formerly Christian church and make it wheelchair accessible for members with disabilities. Those interested in checking out the space can actually take a limited tour on their official website. (Related: you can also check out a digital tour of the Playboy mansion here.)
As you’ll find, the church is loud and colorful, almost the opposite of how you’d expect a religious space to look. “It’s true, our chapel is bright and colorful, however it is also a quiet space of contemplation and reflection,” the web copy states. “And yes, our meeting room is a wonderland, but why should places of spiritual growth be dull and uninviting?”
The church also houses a beautiful and delightfully manicured art garden patio for “grillin’ and chillin’,” a trendy fellowship hall that doubles as an art gallery that has previously featured works from world-renowned artists (the church itself is painted by artist Okuda San Miguel) and a sizeable but dated kitchen to take care of those munchies.
Obviously, the church has been met with some skepticism. When asked if the International Church of Cannabis should be taken seriously in the site’s FAQ section, they cheekily respond, “Should we be taken as seriously as the folks who believe that Jonah lived in the belly of a giant fish or that the wife of Lot turned into a pillar of salt?” Dang. Shots fired.
Though the two are in no way affiliated with each other, the International Church of Cannabis isn’t the first pot-related religion located in the United States. The First Church of Cannabis (also known as the Cannaterian Church) was founded in March 2015 and soon became a legally recognized religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
The proposal for the religion was approved the same day they applied and they were even granted IRS tax-exempt status.
The religion’s self-appointed “Grand Poobah”, Bill Levin, admits that he came up with the idea for the church, located in Indiana, while watching an episode of The Flintstones—a fitting origin story for a stoner-based religion. The church’s members, known as Cannaterians, preach more or less the same beliefs as the International Church of Cannabis.
So if you’d rather weed and pizza over wine and bread at your church, maybe you should give these relatively new and open-minded religious spaces a shot.
The International Church of Cannabis recently announced that they will open their doors to the public every day starting 4/20 this year. That’s today, my dudes.
See the International Church of Cannabis’s Indiegogo campaign below.