The State of Indiana has created a lot of backlash recently by signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a bill that allows businesses and/or individuals to deny services to gay people, based on “religious grounds.”
Naturally, the criticism was almost immediate, as people and organizations all over the world have protested the bill furiously. Very public boycotts have been launched; all kinds of celebrities and public figures have been very outspoken against the State’s policies; the NCAA, whose hugely popular Final Four tournament will be played in Indianapolis this weekend, has expressed the reform could influence a move somewhere else in the near future.
But it seems like any bigoted law that adheres to questionable reasoning can also generate some wonderful consequences that would most likely anger Indiana’s legislators and their beliefs.
Just as the Governor Mike Pence’s ink was still drying on a bill that masked discrimination with religious freedom, the paperwork for the brand new First Church of Cannabis Inc. was being filed at the Secretary of State’s office.
Church founder — and hilariously well-timed entrepreneur — Bill Levin announced on their Facebook page that the registration had been approved and now they can they move forward and accomplish their “goals of love, understanding and good health.”
Everyone has the constitutional right to their own religion, and they’re entitled to protect the sacrament they believe in. If that happens to be weed, the State needs to be just as permissive as they are with any other theological option.
Political analyst Abdul Hakim-Shabazz claimed on Indy Politics that while marijuana is still illegal in Indiana, its consumption is part of numerous faith traditions. “You see, if 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 scott-free,” Hakim-Shabazz wrote.
Legally speaking, RFRA may have opened the door for something the conservative legislators of the Hoosier State might be vehemently opposed to, but that’s what happens when you impose stuff like this, people will find loopholes to advocate for their own purposes.
The first order of business for the Church of Cannabis is to lease a building they can pray in, with the long-term goal of having a “House of Hemp, built with love by Hoosiers for all to participate in.”
Of course, a physical temple needs funding! Individual membership donations to the church start at a very appropriate rate of $4.20 per month. However, if you’d like a more important title within the church, you can donate $100 dollars or more and become a “Green Angel”, $500 or more and become a “Gold Angel”, or shoot for the highest honor while donating $1,000 or more to become a “Church Poobah”.
So there you have it, stoners of Arkansas: You now have a blueprint!