A man who was living in a church in Colorado has taken a 113-year old church, and created the International Church of Cannabis. According to a report by The Guardian, Yale graduate Steve Berke, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, owned by his real estate agent parents. They intended to turn the building into apartments, but Berke had other plans. Along with some friends, including buddy Lee Molloy, they dreamed up a new church.
“We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?” Molloy said, according to the report.
The International Church of Cannabis “opened its doors” on April 20, 2016. Boasting a chapel and video game arcade, the red-brick classic church building houses a different kind of congregation.
According to the Gaurdian: “The three front doors and arched window facade have been spray-painted with silver galaxies and bright, happy-face planets. The work of legendary painter and graphic artist Kenny Scharf, who has exhibited in the Whitney and New York’s Museum of Modern Art, it looks more like the backdrop for an illegal 90s rave than your typical parish church. But it’s indicative of the coup that Elevation Ministries, the non-profit company that Steve and Lee co-founded to set up the Church of Cannabis, has managed to pull off.”
— Get To The Joint (@GetToTheJoint) August 13, 2017
The group of 1,400 private club members attend private cannabis “services” on Friday nights. During service, guests are reportedly encouraged to get to know each other, and relax in hangout rooms.
The Guardian writes: “People spark up joints and pass them around. Long wisps of smoke float to the ceiling and cover the congregation in a flowery shroud; splutterings of coughs and giggles, the sharp intake of breath on all sides.”
Lee, according to the report, is a former Bible quiz champion. He was raised in a Christian home, and by the writers estimation, has the “credentials of a preacher if not the look.”
The church isn’t open to the general public, because Colorado’s current law only allows smoking in private clubs. Instead, from Thursday to Sunday they allow the public to view the facility in a smoke-free environment.
According to the report: “Three of the founding members [of the church], including Lee, are under citation for two charges dating back to their opening 4/20 event: the first for breaking the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which bans smoking in public places, and the second for breaking a state law that forbids marijuana consumption outside private homes and clubs.“
Although officials say the members appear be adhering to the law now, a court date is reportedly still pending.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2000. By 2016, the state had sold more than a $1-billion worth of the previously illegal substance, and collected almost $200-million in additional tax revenue.
— White Rabbit (@whiterabbit_420) July 27, 2017
— son pikap (@sonpikap) July 29, 2017
— son pikap (@sonpikap) July 29, 2017
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