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Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Act” Allows for First Church of Cannabis to Open

Indiana’s “Religious Freedom Act” Allows for First Church of Cannabis to Open

by April 1, 2015 0 comments

Indiana’s recently signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) may have unintentionally allowed for the establishment of the First Church of Cannabis to open in the state.  Governor Mike Pence created a bigoted bill allowing businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds or values, but now the Republican official has also allowed for an unexpected possibility.

While the signing ceremony was going on, church founder Bill Levin, was filing his incorporation papers to open up his church. Levin’s legal effort was soon followed by a post on his Facebook page which read: “Status: Approved by Secretary of State of Indiana – “Congratulations your registration has been approved!”  Now we begin to accomplish our goals of Love, Understanding, and Good Health.” The church is currently seeking $4.20 donations as a non-profit organization.

Political commentator Abdul-Hakeem Shabazz, pointed out that while smoking pot in Indiana is still illegal, the legislators, in their haste to protect what they claim are religious rights, opened the door to the unexpected.

He said,

“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.  [The bill] only spells out a test as to whether a government mandate would unduly burden a person’s faith …  the government has to articulate a compelling interest for that rule and how it would be carried out in the least restrictive manner.”

He went on to note:

“So, with that said, what ‘compelling interest’ would the state of Indiana have to prohibit me from using marijuana as part of my religious practice?” he asked. ” I would argue marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and wine used in religious ceremonies. Marijuana isn’t any more ‘addictive’ than alcohol and wine is used in some religious ceremonies. And marijuana isn’t any more of a ‘gateway’ drug than the wine used in a religious ceremony will make you go out and buy hard liquor. (At least not on Sunday)…I want a front row seat at the trial that we all know is going to happen when all this goes down.”

Us too! CyberPot road trip, anyone?

[Via Raw Story]

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