Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson has given approval to the First Church of Cannabis, a church “based on love and understanding with compassion for all”, which considers cannabis a “healing plant”. The approval comes after state lawmakers approved the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Bill Levin, founder of the church, filed paperwork with the state almost immediately after Governor Mike Pence signed the Act into law; he quickly received an approval letter from Secretary of State Connie Lawson.
“Cannabis, “the Healing Plant” is our sacrament. It brings us closer to ourselves and others”, says Levin. “It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group.”
The group has raised over $7,400 in 9 days to rent a facility for their church; their goal is to raise $20,000 in 30 days.
The First Church of Cannabis has already garnered over 26,000 “likes” for their official Facebook page.
According to the group, individuals can become official members of the church for a simple $4.20 monthly fee.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act states that; “government action may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person’s exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest” or “the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.”