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First Church of Cannabis sues over marijuana laws

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  • First Church of Cannabis sues over marijuana laws

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    INDIANAPOLIS – A pot-smoking church sued the city of Indianapolis and state of Indiana on Wednesday, claiming laws against possession and use of marijuana infringe on its religious beliefs.

    The First Church of Cannabis, formed as a test of Indiana's new religious objections law, filed its lawsuit in Marion Circuit Court in Indianapolis, naming multiple defendants including Gov. Mike Pence and state and local law enforcement officers.

    The lawsuit claims church members believe marijuana is a sacrament that "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."

    The lawsuit says Indiana laws that make possession of marijuana or visiting a place where it is used a punishable offense place a burden on the church's exercise of religion, violating the state and U.S. constitutions.

    "We are taking legal action today to ensure love has no barriers in our land," church founder Bill Levin, 59, said at a news conference in front of the Statehouse. "Today we invite the state of Indiana and all its leaders to joyfully meet us in a court of law for clarifications on our core religious values. We look forward to engaging them on the high plane of dignity and discipline, with love and compassion in our hearts, to find a swift and sensible answer for our questions of religious equality."

    There was no marijuana during the church's first service July 1, which was attended by more than 100 people and observed by more than 20 police officers. Local officials had threatened arrests if marijuana was present. A second service was planned for Wednesday evening, and it was not clear whether marijuana would be present.

    The Indiana Attorney General's Office issued a statement saying it would file its clients' response to the lawsuit "at the appropriate time."

    Levin founded the First Church of Cannabis on March 26, the day Pence signed Indiana's religious objections measure into law. The IRS granted the church tax-exempt status in May.

    Levin said the church has more than 1,000 members and is built "on the cornerstone of love, compassion and good health" and isn't just a place for its members to get high.

    Indiana's law sparked protests and boycott threats this spring amid concerns it could provide a legal defense to discriminate against gays, lesbians and others. Lawmakers later revised the law to address those concerns.

  • #2
    I am very sympathetic to The First Church of Cannabis. I believe that Cannabis is medicine and the world's most important vegetable.
    Comment>

    • #3
      Originally posted by Zog Has-fallen View Post
      I am very sympathetic to The First Church of Cannabis. I believe that Cannabis is medicine and the world's most important vegetable.
      And you place those things before "Right" Worship? Just curious as to whether you are being sarcastic? If so, I ask that you please stop and let your yes be yes and no be no.

      God bless,
      William

      Comment>

      • #4
        Originally posted by William View Post

        And you place those things before "Right" Worship?
        Some wrap themselves in the American flag and worship capitalism, which only allows medical practitioners to dispense chemicals. I believe in the healing power of plants, including cannabis.
        Comment>

        • #5
          Originally posted by Zog Has-fallen View Post
          Some wrap themselves in the American flag and worship capitalism, which only allows medical practitioners to dispense chemicals. I believe in the healing power of plants, including cannabis.

          Neither of which belongs in the church. Clearly, The First Church of Cannabis is using religion as a political statement. We'll have to see how these things unfold and whether they encroach on Sorcery. With a loosely leftist definition of religion and resulting practice of Sorcery, I cannot foresee any repercussions.

          God bless,
          William
          Comment>

          • #6
            This club is not a church (e.g. they don't worship God, gods, or spirits). And, they have no religious obligation to get high (i.e. prohibition doesn't compel them to do something they believe is a sin or immoral). I don't see grounds for a hearing, let alone a win in court. Getting church exempt status from the IRS is practically meaningless. Churches get no different IRS treatment from any other non-profit group, so why would the IRS care of the potheads call themselves a church or a garden club. Plus, we know of the recent IRS left-wing political bias. Maybe the potheads should have called themselves a garden club so they could get some some government grants that churches are prohibited from.




            Comment>

            • #7
              The daily dot wrote:

              It’s no secret that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which made national headlines earlier this year, was a blatant attempt to suppress LGBT rights. But in a case of surely unintended consequences, the controversial law has done a lot to advance another “lifestyle.”

              On Tuesday, Indiana legally recognized the First Church of Cannabis, a group claiming to be devoted to harmony, kindness and—you guessed it—pot.

              The First Church of Cannabis is a relatively new denomination, set to hold its first services on July 1, the first day the religious-freedom law goes into effect, according to Forbes. And by obtaining recognition from the state under the new law, church members (who call themselves “cannataerians”) will reportedly be allowed to light up during their church services, even though they will practice in a state where marijuana is still a highly illegal substance. It’s all thanks to Indiana’s recently reinforced religious freedoms.
              Obviously, the author hadn't a clue about the word or definition of a denomination.

              God bless,
              William
              Comment>
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