On March 26, Indiana passed a law called the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which protects religious freedoms in court. On March 26, Bill Levin founded the First Church of Cannabis in Indiana, which was recognized as a tax-exempt religion by the IRS in May.
Fast forward to July 1, 2015, the day that the bill was put into affect. The First Church of Cannabis had its inaugural mass, with a crowd of about 100 people (not including the 20 police officers who warned they would make arrests should marijuana be present). July 1, 2015 is also the day that Levin filed a lawsuit against Indiana Governor Mike Pence, the man who signed the bill into law, as well as several local and state officials in Indiana.
According to Levin, (via FOX News):
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.
Levin said that the goal of his lawsuit is to, “find a swift and sensible answer for our questions of religious equality.”
Talk about your classic case of someone attempting (very successfully and within the realms of legality) to “stick it to the man.”
My only concern is that the post-ceremony snack bar might not be stocked to handle the traffic that will certainly be coming its way should the lawsuit go in favor of the First Church of Cannabis.