The International Church of Cannabis is a religious organisation established in Denver, Colorado. Together with some friends, two cannabis enthusiasts named Steve Berke and Lee Molloy relocated from Miami to Denver, where they lived temporarily in a 113-year-old church building purchased by Berke’s real estate agent parents. Unhappy with organised religion and enticed by the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana, the group convinced the Berke parents to keep the church building, rather than render it into flats.

Nine months later, on April 20th, 2017, the International Church of Cannabis opened its doors, with the converted chapel in Denver being its headquarters. The church welcomes everyone and doesn’t adhere to any specific doctrine or dogma.

Members of the church known as “Elevationists” use cannabis as a sacrament. They believe that the plant allows individuals to experience a higher understanding of themselves.

International Church of Cannabis Denver

THE CHURCH BUILDING

The century-old headquarters, which was established as a Lutheran church called Mount Calvary Apostolic is located in Denver’s Washington Park neighbourhood. An Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for repairs raked in $40,000.

The design of the church, with its colourful, surrealist interior paintings was carried out by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel, who already had experience painting abandoned churches in Spain and Morocco. On its façade, the church features graffiti-inspired murals by American artist Kenny Scharf. The building, despite the bright and colourful design, also serves as a quiet space for contemplation and reflection.

THE MISSION OF THE INTERNATIONAL CHURCH OF CANNABIS

The cannabis-embracing Elevationists of the International Church of Cannabis believe that everyone is on a personal spiritual journey toward meaning and self-discovery, which can be accelerated and deepened with ritual cannabis use. With the help of cannabis, which they call “the sacred flower,” everyone can reveal the best in themselves to discover their creative voice and enrich the community at large.

THE CHURCH OF CANNABIS HAS JUST ONE GOLDEN RULE

Unlike traditional organised religions, Elevationism claims no divine law or unquestionable doctrine. Everyone is welcome to follow their own path so long as they remember to live by the Golden Rule. And this Golden Rule is quite simple: to treat others as you wish to be treated. There is no need to “convert” to Elevationism. Simply join if you want to.

COME TO SMOKE OR GET SOME WEED?

You may be out of luck. Although Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, it is currently still illegal to smoke in public spaces. This is why ritual cannabis use in the church is by invitation only. The celebration of the "sacrament of cannabis" held every Friday is the only regular service in the church.

LEGAL STATUS

As long as Elevationism is considered an authentic religious belief, it is protected by constitutional religious freedom on a federal level.

International Church of Cannabis Elevationists

IF YOU WANT TO BECOME A MEMBER

The International Church of Cannabis sees itself as a supplement to existing beliefs, rather than a replacement. Members of any religion can become Elevationists.

If you want to check out the Denver location, the International Church of Cannabis is open to the public Thursday-Sunday from 1-3pm. Know that there is no consumption allowed during these hours. The church also doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 21 into the church when the sacrament is being burned. The church does not sell any marijuana.

In response to media publicity following its establishment, church membership rose to 500 within just two weeks. Today, the organisation has more than 1500 members with more people joining every day.

The doors of the International Church of Cannabis are open to everyone. If you want to become a member, meet awesome people, and enjoy access to one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and elevating locations in the world, you can join the church by visiting their website today.

Images by International Church of Cannabis and Local12

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