The International Church Of Cannabis - Spirituality And Cannabis

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The International Church Of Cannabis - Spirituality And Cannabis

The International Church of Cannabis is bringing faith and cannabis endeavors together. Explore a newly founded religion under the roof of a renovated masterpiece.

Cannabis has been used as a sacrament for spiritual practices throughout the centuries, if not millennia. Once cannabinoids enter the human brain, divine and meditative experiences can often present themselves. It’s not hard to imagine why cannabis is used to open one’s eyes to the unseen.

With the rising momentum of the legalization movement, two cannabis aficionados, Steve Berke and Lee Molloy, decided to merge cannabis with religion by establishing The International Church of Cannabis in Denver, Colorado. They opened the doors to the public on the stoner holiday of 20th April, 2017.


When Steve and Lee moved to Colorado, they crashed in this 113-year-old church building, which was bought by Steve’s parents who work in real estate. The plan was to transform this church into flats. However, to cash in on the cannabis craze in Colorado, they decided to keep the building as a church, and turn it into a cannabis worship center.

They hired the legendary Kenny Scharf and Okuda San Miguel to design the trippy, weed-friendly artwork for the church. Scharf, a Los Angeles-based artist with a graffiti style, designed the exterior facade of the church. As you stand before the entrance of the church, spacey planets mediate the message “Welcome all cannabis spirituals!” San Miguel, a Spanish artist whose work can be described as pop surrealism, designed the interior of the church. After weeks of hard work, he turned the church into a masterpiece, challenging the grandeur of the Sistine Chapel. The trippy decor surrounds entrants with modern geometrical patterns, rainbow-coloured animals, beings, and various shapes.

21+ ONLY

The founders of the church wanted to open the doors to the world, just like conservative Christian beliefs teach. However, due to the legal status of cannabis, they could only make it a members-only club where individuals 21+ need to sign up to be a part of this spiritual 420 endeavor.

As we can imagine, everyone didn’t welcome this project with open arms. Colorado state representative Dan Pabon stated in an interview with The New York Times that The International Church of Cannabis “offends both religious beliefs everywhere, as well as the voters’ intent on allowing legalization of marijuana in Colorado”. He tried to add an amendment which effectively bans the use of cannabis in churches, however, it didn’t gather enough support to pass. Various complaints were made by the neighbors who felt uninformed about the creation of this church, and whose parking spaces were being occupied by cannabis enthusiasts. The church is doing what they can to alleviate some the neighborly tensions through community volunteer work.

The International Church Of Cannabis - Spirituality And Cannabis


So, what is this International Church of Cannabis all about? The members are called Elevationists, the followers of Elevationism. The main structure of this religion is that there is no authoritarian regime or unquestionable dogma. Anyone from any religious background is welcome to enter. It’s based on self-discovery, which can be accelerated by consuming cannabis.

Alright, everything sounds nice and fluffy. However, let's not fool ourselves into thinking that The International Church of Cannabis doesn't have a mandate attached to it. It's not that clear due to the Elevationist mixed messages. On their website, they state “The Elevationist is awakened at the time that her cannabis experience becomes transcendental in nature”.

On the other hand, "No one person can tell another how to achieve her personal spiritual goals”. Basically, no one can dictate how to achieve their spiritual goals, but according to Elevationism, spiritual goals are achieved with the consumption of cannabis. Here's the main contradiction: they present themselves as a non-religious religion.

“The Elevationist community is not bound together by the singular god or dogma one believes in, but rather by a flower that has positively influenced our lives and our spiritual growth”. Sounds like cannabis consumption is the dogma.


Many cannabis enthusiasts find peace in Elevationism; getting baked and travelling through the spacey artwork with your mates sounds amazing. The building is an absolute masterpiece, which all people should come and visit. Anyone who wants to enter needs to become a member on their website first. Also, don't expect to show up and blaze up immediately. There are restrictions on the consumption of cannabis within the building.

With greater legalization of cannabis around the world, we can see more creative ways of capitalising on the herb appearing, spreading the benefits of weeds to those who have yet to convert.