As of April 20th of last year, thoughtful tokers have been able to honor the sacred side of marijuana at the International Church of Cannabis. Located in Denver, the International Church of Cannabis is the headquarters of a weed-inspired religion called Elevationism. Elevationism isn’t an excuse to smoke weed simply for the fun of it; as the Elevationists understand it, it is the pursuit of spiritual fulfillment through the ritual use of cannabis.
“First and foremost, this is a community church,” Steve Berke, one of the founders of the church explains to Westword. “There are rumors that this is a rasta smoking lounge or a nightclub. It’s not. It’s a safe place to congregate and consume.”
The headquarters of Elevationism are actually set in a century-old church, but instead of stained glass windows and neo-renaissance ceiling art, it is adorned by work from artists Kenny Scharf and Okuda San Miguel. Only Elevationists are allowed entry outside of public visiting hours. The church is open to non-members from Thursday through Sunday from 1-3pm. Consumption of cannabis is not allowed during these times.
Praise Jah (or Buddha, or Gaia, or the Stars)
The church does not ascribe to a divine religious doctrine or deity; as such, individuals don’t need to go through any process of conversion to become a member. Instead, the International Church of Cannabis sets out to be a safe space for self-proclaimed Elevationists to smoke themselves to transcendence in a community setting. Any spiritual or divine ponderings are left up to each individual to discern for themselves.
Per their mission statement or “lifestance,” The International Church of Cannabis believes that the ritual use of cannabis — as opposed to medicinal or recreational use — can lead people through their search for meaning and exploration of spirituality.
The International Church of Cannabis hosts events and performances that complement the church’s mission of spiritual fulfillment and community improvement through getting high. And if you’re really dedicated, you can even book the church for your offbeat, 420-themed wedding in a gorgeous chapel. And, like any proper church, its members should expect to expand their spiritual journey beyond their own selves and do work that enriches their community.
To become a member of the International Church of Cannabis, you must be legally able to consume marijuana, and at least 21 years of age. You can connect to Elevationism outreach through their website, as well as purchase Elevationist garb through their online shop to help fund the establishment. Since it’s a not-for-profit organization, members of the church will not be able to purchase bud or paraphernalia on church premises.
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