Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Indiana Marijuana Church Granted Tax-Exempt Status, Plans 'Call To Worship' When Members Will Light Up

First ChurchChristian Post, Indiana's Marijuana Church Granted Tax-Exempt Status; Plans to Test Limits of Controversial Religious Freedom Law at First 'Worship' Service:

Indiana's marijuana-smoking church has been incorporated as a tax-exempt religious organization by the Internal Revenue Service according to the church's founder.

Bill Levin, the founder of the First Church of Cannabis, a controversial group looking to test the limits of Indiana's new Religious Freedom Restoration Act by indulging in the smoking of marijuana during "church" services said the IRS notified him earlier this week about the group's tax will allow donors to deduct their contributions.

"It means people in higher tax brackets will be more generous with the church," said Levin to News and Tribune. "There have been people who want us to succeed but they've [been] waiting [on] our 501(c)(3) exemption."

The organization was established by Levin in March, after Indiana's General Assembly passed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act which will go into effect on July 1. ... The First Church of Cannabis hopes to test the new law by holding a service on July 1 where members will take part in recreational marijuana-smoking, an activity that is currently illegal in the state of Indiana.

Levin said the service will open with "Amazing Grace" being played on a harmonica by a popular young musician and will move to a quick sermon followed by a "call to worship," which is a time for members to smoke.

The organization is currently looking for a church that will lease them space for the event. However, it's still unclear if local police and prosecutors are prepared to accept recreational marijuana smoking as protected under RFRA.

(Hat Tip: Pat Oglesby.)

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Fascinating. There's that footnote in Employment Div. v. Smith with a long list of marijuana churches that have been successfully (from the gov't's standpoint) prosecuted. Anyone want to start a pool -- pick the date the Indiana narcs go to shut these guys down?

Posted by: eli bortman | Jun 1, 2015 6:04:49 AM

I think I missed Orwell's Brave New World, but it sounds like a pretty good book! But seriously, I'm rootin' for the potheads. Cop dat RFRA, bros.

Posted by: No, breh | May 31, 2015 6:39:03 PM

More and more, it's looking like Huxley's Brave New World nailed our dystopian future better than Orwell's Brave New World, at least until a totalitarian Caliphate takes over a drug-addled, pleasure-obsessed West that can't marshall enough will power to defend itself.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | May 31, 2015 4:54:19 PM