First Church of Cannabis Granted Tax-Exempt Status by IRS

First Church of Cannabis Granted Tax-Exempt Status by IRS

Church founder, minister, and "Grand Poobah" Bill Nevin.

Greetings friend, have you accepted the word of OG Kush into your heart?

The First Church of Cannabis (Inc.) has been approved by Indiana’s Secretary of State under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. (You know, the one that allows homophobic business owners to refuse service to gays?) Even more impressive, it’s been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. (You know, the loophole that let Scientology go from filthy rich to filthy stinking rich?) Yeah, shit has gotten weird.

Headed by Bill Levin, the church’s self-described “Minister of Love and Grand Poobah,” the First Church of Cannabis was founded “to start a church based on love and understanding with compassion for all.” It is also based on the ideal that “Cannabis, the ‘healing plant,’ is our sacrament.”

Its first service will take place July 1 of this year — not coincidentally the same day the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act goes into effect. While the church says it will not buy or sell marijuana, its founders will grow it and the congregation will be permitted to light up in church, if the spirit strikes.

“If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them,” Levin said. “This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called ‘cannataerians.’”

Now, I can’t tell if this guy is completely full of shit, or just mostly, but anyone who can turn two missteps of bureaucracy (one an egregious miscarriage of human rights) into a reason to grow and smoke their own weed, I must respect.

Though I’m never going to call them cannataerians.