Suggested Dues for First Church of Cannabis: $4.20

Founder Bill Levin's response to Indiana law puts pot front and center
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2015 5:27 PM CDT
This is fine in church.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Newser) – The first commandment of Indiana's newest religious establishment is pretty straightforward: "Don't be an asshole." The First Church of Cannabis—given the thumbs-up as a religious corporation by Indiana's secretary of state after the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law last week—also has a mission to "celebrate LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, EQUALITY, and COMPASSION for all," per its Facebook page. Founder/"Minister of Love and Grand Pooba" Bill Levin, who tells the Washington Post he set up the church in response to Indiana's new law, also mentions the church plans on growing hemp, wants to build the first church out of "hempcrete" (concrete and hemp), and positions cannabis as the holy sacrament.

"If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them," Levin tells the newspaper. "This is a church to show a proper way of life." And, according to Levin, that means following his "Deity Dozen," which includes helping others, seeking out daily solitude, and not trolling folks on the Internet. How long the church lasts will be interesting, since marijuana is illegal in Indiana, for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Members are encouraged to donate $4.20 per month, but there's one thing they can't do in his pot paradise. "I'm not going to allow alcohol on the premise," he tells the Post, adding that he plans on setting up counseling services to help heroin addicts. (Wonder if the stance of this Indiana pizza place meets "Deity Dozen" standards.)

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