While Indiana’s new “religious freedom” law could lead to legal discrimination against its LGBT residents, it also opened the doors to the First Church of Cannabis.
After Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act last Thursday, church founder Bill Levin filed church registration paperwork in direct response to the act, which was approved on Friday, reports the Huffington Post.
“If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them,” Levin said in an interview with the Washington Post. “This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called ‘cannataerians.’”
Even though it’s still illegal to smoke pot in the Hoosier State, Indiana attorney and political commentator Abdul-Hakeem Shabazz told RawStory that the church stands a decent chance to stick around under Gov. Pence’s new provision.
“I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scot-free,” Shabazz wrote in an interview with RawStory. “Remember, under RFRA, the state has to articulate a compelling interest in preventing you from smoking pot. I argue they can’t.”
If the First Church of Cannabis can keep its doors open, Levin hopes his place of worship can serve as an alternative for anyone seeking new-age faith.
“It’s a new religion for people who happen to live in our day and age,” Levin told the Huffington Post. “All these old religions, guys walking across the desert without Dr. Scholls inserts, drinking wine out of goat bladders, no compass, speaking Latin and Hebrew — I cannot relate to that sh*t. I drive by Burger Kings, bars and cornfields. I cannot relate to an antique magic book.”