As the congregations continue to get smaller, one church is growing at an alarming rate. Denver, Colorado is home to the International Church of Cannabis.
The church began organically of course, with a few friends hanging out and smoking joints in Colorado, where recreational use of cannabis is perfectly legal. The International Church of Cannabis opened its doors with its own chapel, theology, and video game arcade. From the outside, all seems almost normal. The church has red-brick towers and blocky turrets. It is, for all intents and purposes, a classic city church in an otherwise leafy suburb of Denver. But there are a few giveaways that this might not be the typical church one would expect. The three front doors and arched window facade have been spray-painted with silver galaxies and bright, happy-face planets.
The original plan was to open the church to the general public, but because Colorado’s current pot law only allows smoking in private clubs, it is, for now at least, a members-only affair. The church now has more than 1,400 members on their list. They open the doors from Thursday to Sunday for smoke-free public viewing, with private cannabis services held on Friday nights.
And it all began with a group of friends smoking a joint together. Steve Berke, a graduate of Yale University, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, Colorado. His estate agent parents had bought the 113-year-old church building with plans to turn it into flats. He and his friend Lee Molloy, had just moved from Miami to capitalize on Colorado’s lucrative marijuana market. But in the words of Lee, “We started having these stupid, fantastical conversations. What if we kept it as a church?”
Lee Molloy (above) smokes cannabis on the church’s main stage.
Berke talked his parents into giving him the old church and the International Church of Cannabis was effectively born. And if you thought the inside resembled a traditional church at all, think again. The walls and ceiling are colorfully adorned with bright and imaginative artwork that anyone could appreciate.
Every single surface has been painted in vibrant patterns of red, blue and green, geometric prisms with mythological creatures, stars and eyes hidden within. At the back wall, two dream-like Dali-esque giants sit cross-legged as if lost in meditation. “It feels like a hallucination,” someone says beside me, eyes careening upwards. It’s like being swallowed by a Pink Floyd album cover. Perhaps most impressive of all is that it was created spontaneously without a sketch or a plan. –The Guardian
The services encourage patrons to get to know each other and enjoy the company of new friends. The International Church of Cannabis is uniting people, rather than the division we are normally bombarded with. Even if you don’t smoke, the art and hang out room set this church apart.
Come for the weed, stay for the company and the art.
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Contributed by Dawn Luger of The Daily Sheeple.