The International Church of Cannabis opened last April 20 in Denver, Colorado. Founded by Lee Molloy and Steve Berke, the establishment is a remodeled church that has been converted with the intention of providing cannabis enthusiasts a physical place to come together and enjoy rituals with the plant, and in the process, discover their higher self.
Cannabis.net talks to Lee Molloy, who tells us more about this one-of-a-kind concept in the community:
1. Congratulations on your opening last April 20. How did the program go?
Thank you so much. The opening went great. We had some incredible artists and performers who elevated the crowd and really set the scene for the weekend. It was a wonderful experience, and I feel personally blessed to have spent so much time with so many wonderful, open and honest individuals.
2. Please tell us more about the celebrations centered around cannabis.
This weekend was a fundraiser, it was about being entertaining and trying to get fellow cannabis enthusiasts and Elevationists to part with their hard earned money. Therefore, other than the general theme, our main ritual use during the weekend was a 4.20 ritual smoke session each day with a minute of meditation and a meet and greet session.
3. There's been a lot of conflict and criticism from city and state officials as well as residents leading up to the opening. How did it all pan out on 4/20?
Well, first we had to deal with the hypocrisy of State-Rep Dan “The Drunk” Pabon who attempted to distract from his own inadequacy as a human being by bringing an entirely bogus amendment to a State bill at the last-minute to prevent us from our religious practices, which was not only pathetic, but it was clearly blatant religious persecution. Thankfully his more intelligent fellow politicians did not follow his lead. Meanwhile, at the City level, we had some hoops to jump through, but overall we were treated quite graciously by the City Attorneys.
4. Elevationists intend to help members bring out the best version of themselves through cannabis rituals. Would you say that the church is similar to the modern day approach of Shamans and the use of psychoactive plants for healing?
I am not an expert in Shamanism, but Cannabis is a healing flower - used for emotional and physical pain relief.
5. What kinds of causes will you volunteering will you be working with in the community?
That depends entirely on the Elevationists involved. We will be facilitating volunteering efforts for as many causes as our members are interested in pursuing. However, once broken down into groups, those groups will follow their own path. Keeping the City clean and volunteering with those with disability are two ideas that have come up and will likely be executed soon.
6. Can you tell us a little more about the kind of person or members of a community whom you think can benefit the most from becoming a member?
Those who are interested in exploring their minds and spiritual nature by way of the Cannabis Sacrament are welcome to join us. We know that all those with an open mind and a desire to improve their live may benefit from becoming a member of our church.
7. Is there a fee to become a member of the Elevationists?
There is no fee to visit the church during public hours. However, we are currently looking at the structure of Church Membership - which will allow not just for spiritual congregation, but also to take part in the elevated entertainment and education classes we are putting together.
8. Using cannabis for meditation and spiritual activities is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. We think that spirituality is one of the many things the plant can definitely help with. Is there a certain dosage, method of ingestion, or certain strains that you think is best to enhance one's spirituality?
Just as there are as many paths to Elevationism as there are Elevationists, there are as many “correct” doses and methods of ingestion. Elevationism is a journey of self-discovery. So, with some pastoral counseling people may find their path, but ultimately, their path is revealed to them.
9. Where did you get the idea to start the Church of Cannabis?
We were lucky enough to be in a position to acquire the physical church. Once that was purchased it took almost a year to really decide to go for it and start the congregation.
10. What are your plans for the rest of 2017 in terms of development and new activities for members?
We still have a lot of work to do on renovations. We are also developing programming with local artists and educators - including the likes of elevated yoga, elevated guided meditation, elevated creativity classes and more.