Huff (Puff?) Post Highlights Denver’s New International Church of Cannabis

In a Denver church that opened today, the term “high priest” takes on a whole new meaning. After all, according to a Huffington Post article, marijuana is the congregation’s “holy sacrament.”

If you weren't aware, April 20 is Weed Day, and the media have made an over-the-top effort to highlight the drug. But amidst articles on cannabis cocktails and weed-growing “nuns,” the Huffington Post’s piece on Denver’s new International Church of Cannabis might just be the most disturbing.  

Upon entering its 13,000 square foot building, visitors are met with a burst of color from walls covered in multihued, geometric patterns. As a fundraising video explains, Denver’s new installation is the “spiritual home to adults everywhere who ritually take the sacred flower to find inspiration and meaning.”  

And why do they need a large building for their community? In the words of one member: “Others have a place [to worship]. But where is ours?”

The members of the congregation call themselves elevationists—for obvious reasons—and eschew all religious rules, authorities and higher powers. “We do not believe in authoritarian structures,” Lee Molloy explained to the Huffington Post, “nor do we profess the arrogance of knowing God’s mind.”

But they do know the power of a good joint. “When we ritually take cannabis our mind is elevated and we become a better version of self,” Molloy continued.

“The truth is, elevationists are everywhere, but we need to finally come out of the shadows,” the promo video urges. “We use the sacrament of cannabis to elevate our lives and find our personal path to spiritual fulfillment.”

Founded in Indiana, the “First Church of Cannabis” sued the state in 2015 for prohibiting pot, claiming that the then newly enacted Religious Freedom Restoration Act should protect its congregations’ right to use the drug.  

Sarah Stites
Sarah Stites
Sarah Stites is a writer and research analyst for MRC Culture.