If you’re like me, when it comes to religion you’re caught in a bit of a gray area. You may believe in some form of higher power… but whether or not it’s a magical bearded man, nothing is definite. What I do believe in is being a good person, educating and enlightening myself, and finding some sort of oneness that connects me to the forces around me. These are very similar ideals to the mission of the International Church of Cannabis.
The building is located in a refurbished 113-year-old church in the West Washington Park neighborhood and on the outside, looks like any ol’ regular church. The moment you step inside The International Church of Cannabis, you’re greeted by a barrage of colorful imagery from floor to ceiling. The congregation are referred to as Elevationists, a fitting name considering their message and their sacrament.
The International Church of Cannabis and its Elevationists have a simple mission:
The International Church of Cannabis’ mission is to offer a home to adults everywhere who are looking to create the best version of themselves by way of the sacred plant.
Church members are called Elevationists and our lifestance is that an individual’s spiritual journey, and search for meaning, is one of self-discovery that can be accelerated with ritual cannabis use…”
The International Church of Cannabis stresses the fact that Elevationists claim no devine authority or authoritarian structure – therefore those of any and all religious backgrounds are welcome to discover their oneness – whatever that may mean for them.
News has been buzzing around the Elevationists and their church recently, and also receiving it’s fair amount of criticism. To clear up a few things floating around in that respect, we turned to the International Church of Cannabis’ FAQ:
First of all, the International Church of Cannabis does not worship cannabis. Many believe the church’s purpose is to praise marijuana as others do God. This simply isn’t so. Cannabis for Elevationists is the sacrament – for those of you who weren’t raised in the church, “the sacrament” is a religious ceremony that is an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace. Very much like the Host in Catholicism. Essentially, it’s seen as a conduit to reach inner enlightenment.
Another misconception of the church is that it’s just an excuse to smoke weed. Which the Church so eloquently responds “This is Denver. We can all legally smoke cannabis here already.”
What about the legitimacy of the church? Why should Denverites take the church seriously? In possibly the best answer I’ve ever read regarding religion and belief: “Should we be taken as seriously as the folks who believe that Jonah lived in the belly of a giant fish or that the wife of Lot turned into a pillar of salt?”
Belief takes many forms, as I said before some believe in a big man in the sky pulling our proverbial strings through life, while others believe that marijuana connects them to their greater being and enlightens them. The International Church of Cannabis simply provides a location for those who believe the latter, a place to find the meaning of “it all.”
Lastly, this is not a smoke den for all the Cheeches and Chongs out there. The Elevationists are attempting to scrap the old “stoner” stereotype to reflect the more serious, committed, professional and talented members of the cannabis smoking community. People who smoke weed should no longer be perceived as the doobie-ous characters depicted in Reefer Madness.
Overall, the International Church of Cannabis is a place for cannabis enthusiasts to have a place to smoke, discuss, and find meaning in this big crazy thing we call life. Hear about the church from the current Elevationists themselves, and if you’re so inclined, help them fix their busted boiler, as well as help them reach their goal to make their second floor accessible for those with disabilities.
The International Church of Cannabis will open its doors to smokers every day, officially opening on 4/20.