Thursday, July 2, 2015

"Church of Cannabis" Holds First Service

So apparently this church is no joke.

During the original flap over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Bill Levin filed paperwork chartering "The First Church of Cannabis" in Indiana. At the time it sounded more like a Satanic Temple-style publicity stunt, deliberately pitting religious freedom against marijuana prohibition. However, yesterday the new church held its first service. Local law enforcement showed up in force, and issued a statement that anyone caught with marijuana would be arrested. However, no arrests were made and the service proceeded without incident.

The opening of the church had been marred with police attention after Levin said marijuana would be part of the church's services, with warnings of intervention from IMPD and Marion County's prosecutor.

Marijuana is currently illegal in Indiana for both medical and recreational use.

Neighbors also expressed frustration with the new church. The properties that surrounded the church were lined with caution tape and "No Parking" signs. One neighbor even said she spent nearly $4,000 to build a new fence to keep church attendees out.

Levin filed to open the church on the same day the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law.

Now here's my question. Were there no arrests because no marijuana use was observed, or because the officer who makes the arrest that allows a court challenge based on the RFRA will probably see his or her career come to an abrupt end? If the organizers are really looking to overturn the law they first need a case, and I expect the powers that be don't want them to be given that opportunity.

But does that then mean members of the cannabis church can smoke up with impunity at services? The whole situation is quite frankly a mess from a legal perspective. While the Indiana RFRA was amended to prohibit discrimination after a loud public outcry, the law still passed and nothing in the amended text mentions drug laws. It remains to be seen if they can indeed be trumped by individual religious beliefs.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: