Mj news for 06/09/2015

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.rollingstone.com/politic...juana-is-legal-but-barely-accessible-20150609





7 States Where Medical Marijuana Is Legal But Barely Accessible





With New York State beginning to accept applications for medical marijuana providers last week, criticism of the hyper-strict program negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been plentiful. Hinged on concerns about arbitrary regulations and insufficient patient access, advocates for medical marijuana access worry the program will be too small and restrictive to be effective.

However, New York is not the only state facing hurdles in implementing medical marijuana laws. In states across the country, legislators are struggling to enact the regulations necessary for legalized medical marijuana programs to function properly, leaving patients with long wait times and a slew of confusing procedures. Here are seven other states that are struggling to translate their marijuana legalization laws as they exist on paper into the real world.

Massachusetts

In 2012, Massachusetts's voters approved via ballot initiative the legalization of medical marijuana and state-regulated dispensaries, but overcomplicated licensing procedures allowed not a single dispensary to open. Two dozen lawsuits followed a two-and-a-half-year wait for the law to be enforced.

This May, Gov. Charlie Baker overhauled the overzealous licensing protocol of the previous administration to speed up the regulatory process. Things in Massachusetts were looking up, with the first dispensary set to open later this month, but then unprecedented requirements on marijuana's lead levels proved to be an impossible standard that even grocery store vegetables couldn't meet. As residents wait for a viable program, confusion about the law has led to the arrest of doctor-certified medical marijuana patients, despite state regulations allowing them to grow and possess their own supply.

Minnesota

Enrollment in Minnesota's medical marijuana program just kicked off, and patients will be legally able to purchase the plant when dispensaries open on July 1. But with a short list of qualifying conditions for patients (nine) and a low maximum number of dispensaries (eight), the program is one of the strictest in the country. Home growing is banned, along with the smokeable marijuana (but not vaping); rather than allowing the raw cannabis plant, only extracts like oils and pills are OK under the law. Patients face a stiff $200 annual enrollment fee for the program, and a host of regulations may deter physicians from involvement.

Expected to help treat 5,000 people in Minnesota – 0.1 percent of the state's population – Minnesota's law has become a template for stringent medical marijuana policies that advocates say place political expediency over patients' needs. The Minnesota model is reflected in New York's medical marijuana law, which – among other rules – also bans smokeable, raw cannabis and similarly limits the number of qualifying conditions and licensed dispensaries.

Illinois

After legalizing medical marijuana in 2013, Illinois is in its second year of a four-year medical marijuana pilot program, but with no existing dispensaries to assess. Gov. Pat Quinn left office without issuing any licenses for medical marijuana distribution, prompting his replacement, Bruce Rauner, to swiftly condemn Quinn's inaction and issue a slew of licenses for providers in January. Still, dispensaries are not expected to open until the fall.

In the meantime, home-grow marijuana is not allowed – now or ever, as the law stands – and less than 2,500 patients have applied for the program. Gov. Rauner is currently sitting on a bill that Congress has approved to extend the trial period up to four years after dispensaries open.


Delaware

After Delaware legalized medical marijuana back in 2011, the state's governor, Jack Markell, suspended implementation of the program for years, citing fear of federal intervention and a threatening letter the U.S. Attorney's Office sent the state in 2012. (Congress banned federal funds from being used to intervene in state-authorized medical marijuana programs this past December.) The law requires one medical marijuana dispensary per county, but authorized patients – there are only 200 of them – are still waiting for the first and only licensed dispensary (a pilot program) to open. It will grow only 150 marijuana plants.

New Jersey

In January of 2010, the New Jersey legislature approved a medical marijuana program set to go into effect six months after enactment, but Gov. Chris Christie's hard-line objections prompted stifling disagreements between him, the state's Department of Human Services and the legislature. The first dispensary didn't open until three years later, in 2013, and its role as the sole provider of medical marijuana in the state prompted complaints from registered patients about limited access and long waits. Today, the state's program remains only half operational, with just three of the six dispensaries allowed by the law open for business.

Marijuana policy reformers point to New Jersey's failures as a cautionary tale, especially when discussing other states with similarly restrictive policies. The law permits patients from cultivating marijuana at home, lists only nine qualifying conditions for patients and has stifled doctor participation with licensing regulations. With patient costs reaching $500 per ounce of marijuana, New Jersey's weed is the most expensive in the country, and largely cannot compete with the cheaper black market.

New Hampshire

In 2013, New Hampshire passed legislation allowing just four state-licensed dispensaries to treat patients suffering from only five qualifying medical conditions. The law mandated that the state Department of Health and Human Services approve at least two dispensaries by the end of January 2015. So far it has approved zero. Without legal home grows or a process to even apply for a medical marijuana card, New Hampshire residents who would be covered under the law have no protection from prosecution. Dispensaries are not expected to open until January of 2016; qualifying patients will be able to register for the program a few months before they open shop.

Texas

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill legalizing treatment of severe forms of epilepsy with cannabis oils low in etrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of marijuana. To qualify, patients must have unsuccessfully experimented with two traditional epilepsy medications, and secured the approval of two doctors.

Texas joins more than a dozen states that, since early 2014, have passed legislation legalizing marijuana with high CBD levels and low or no THC levels for the treatment of devastating seizure disorders. This form of marijuana legalization is rarely functional, often because states fail to build the regulations to provide the medicine, or because they rely on federal permission they will not receive while marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug.

There are also a handful of states, like Louisiana, that have had unworkable "marijuana legalization" on the books since the 1980s. These states, along with ones like Texas that have CBD-focused laws, are uncounted in the generally accepted "23 and DC" tally of U.S. municipalities that have legalized medical marijuana.

All these states demonstrate that, as momentum builds for the increasingly popular yet still relatively new policy reform that is medical marijuana legislation, a variety of factors – from lack of experience to political resistance to logistical failures – leave reality lagging behind the law.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://time.com/3913828/marijuana-exposure-children/





An Increasing Number of Young Children Are Being Exposed to Marijuana, Study Shows






More than 75% of cases involve children under the age of 3

More children under 6 across the U.S. are being exposed to marijuana, according to a study released on Monday.

The study, conducted by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, showed a 147.5% increase in marijuana exposure among children younger than 6 years old between 2006 and 2013. That rate spiked by 610% over the same period in states where marijuana was legalized for medicinal purposes before 2000.

Although the total number of reported cases — 1,969 children between 2000 and 2013 — is not large, the researchers say the rapid escalation in the rate of exposure is a cause for concern. More than 75% of the children who were exposed to marijuana were under 3 years old. They ingested it in the form brownies, cookies and other foods containing the drug.

“Any state considering marijuana legalization needs to include child protection in its laws from the very beginning,” Gary Smith, senior author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s, told Science Daily.

His co-author Henry Spiller says the high instances of marijuana ingestion are most likely due to the popularity of marijuana-laced food.

“Very young children explore their environments by putting items in their mouths, and foods such as brownies and cookies are attractive,” he said.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.laweekly.com/music/ucla-professor-finds-marijuana-is-safer-to-smoke-than-tobacco-5658317






UCLA PROFESSOR FINDS MARIJUANA IS SAFER TO SMOKE THAN TOBACCO






“You've got to hold it in your lungs longer, George.” A lot of people remember the famous comment by actor Peter Fonda in Easy Rider.

Thanks to the knowledge contained within the mind of Dr. Donald Tashkin, professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA, the statement makes more sense than ever. He has been studying weed and its effects on lungs for more than 30 years, and provided early evidence that average weed smoking does not cause lung cancer or impair lung function.

Although Tashkin does not condone taking a toke, his insightful research into the effects on the lungs of smoking of marijuana has been published in numerous publications.

“The smoke content of marijuana is very similar to that of tobacco,” explains Tashkin. “There is a higher concentrate of cancer-causing chemicals in marijuana tar, and it reaches the lungs before any other organ, so there is this idea that they are related in causing the same health issues of the lungs.”

But, he says, “Through my studies, we failed to find any positive association.” Instead, “the association would be negative, between lung cancer and the use of marijuana. The likelihood is, that despite the fact that marijuana smoke contains carcinogens, we don’t see the same heightened risks of cancers that we see in tobacco.”

Tashkin also discusses the fact that smoking marijuana, unlike smoking tobacco, does not cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “Reasoning for this may be that marijuana is a potent anti-inflammatory and suppressive,” he says. But “COPD is activated by tobacco smoke and other toxic substances.”

“The other major impact of tobacco smoking on the lungs is the association between smoking tobacco and the development of destructive pulmonary disease, the third cause of death in America,” Tashkin adds.

So while the good doctor wouldn't say this, forget your cigarette, and have a toke instead.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.king5.com/story/news/loc...marijuana-shops-seattle-pete-holmes/28732195/





(Washington) Closing medical marijuana shops is 'slow but steady'





The city of Seattle has issued the first violation notices to medical marijuana businesses since Mayor Ed Murray and council members announced an initiative to regulate the industry.

Already, there is some resistance.

City attorney Pete Holmes says of the first eight businesses to receive notices, three shop owners are taking the city to court. That may signal a long, tough fight ahead for the effort to close shops that don't comply with new city and state laws.

House Bill 5052, approved by state lawmakers, requires medical marijuana businesses to close if they opened after January 2013. These newer businesses must be issued notices of violation and close by July 2016.

Before that deadline, Seattle's Department of Planning and Development is cleaning up the industry by issuing violations to businesses who don't comply with city zoning laws that require them to "establish use."

Approximately 56 of the more than 100 businesses are in violation of either city or state law.

Businesses allowed to stay open must apply for and receive a new state-issued medical marijuana license.

"We are essentially building the airplane as we fly," said Holmes. "We are going to follow through. Voters didn't simply legalize marijuana, we voted to regulate it."

But some neighborhood groups worry that issuing notices of violation isn't enough.

Taylor Hoang with the Ethnic Business Coalition says medical marijuana shops in the International District are a nuisance.

"The concern is that the city will not enforce those laws, especially for the really big offenders," she said. "We've seen a lot of crime increase in the area."

Holmes vows to keep the pressure on landlords and shop owners to comply with the law.

"As soon as we have a hammer, we will use it," he said.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.wsj.com/articles/buying-legalized-marijuana-stocks-just-say-no-1433540862






Buying Legal-Marijuana Stocks: Just Say No?






Marijuana legalization in multiple states has ushered in a variety of companies and funds that are selling shares.

But should you invest?

Marijuana-related securities have arrived in the form of over-the-counter or penny stocks and special funds for accredited or high-net-worth investors. Some investors have been playing this market for several years already.

But while marijuana has been legalized for medical and recreational use in a short list of states, at the federal level marijuana is still illegal.

‘Unusual period’
“We’re in an unusual period,” says Bruce Barcott, author of “Weed the People,” a book about marijuana’s legalization. The federal government is standing by while states legalize marijuana, he says, “but the feds retain the right to come in and arrest any business that touches the leaf. That hasn’t happened yet, but it is possible.”

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a May 2014 investor alert about marijuana-related investments in which it said “marijuana-related companies may be at risk of federal, and perhaps state, criminal prosecution.” The SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have cautioned investors about the risks of buying marijuana stocks, some of which they say are the subject of investor-fraud complaints or complaints that they are little more than pump-and-dump schemes.

In its 2014 alert, the SEC cited trading halts on several marijuana-related companies due to suspicious trading activity and investor complaints about their investments.

But, the alert also said, “Notwithstanding the federal ban, as of the date of this guidance, 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized certain marijuana-related activity.”

The SEC didn’t return calls seeking comment.

There are funds, open only to wealthy investors, that specialize in marijuana-related securities, though they won’t speak publicly, for fear of violating accredited-investor solicitation rules and rules about marijuana. High Times Growth Fund, for one, linked to the High Times media brand, has a website with little information other than email addresses and a cannabis leaf.

Marijuana Investment Co., also open only to accredited investors, focuses on providing investment access to an ETF-like portfolio of marijuana-related assets, says Alan Brochstein, a financial adviser who runs the newsletter 420 Investor and designs marijuana-based model-portfolios for his subscribers. The company says it is planning to file for an initial public offering, and has invested in the Marijuana Index, which tracks listed companies in the sector. The index launched by tracking six stocks just two years ago, but now tracks 200 with a combined market value of $6.9 billion.

Mr. Brochstein’s own model portfolio of marijuana stocks provides a look at the many subsectors: a 19% allocation to Canadian licensed producers; 18% to vaporizer smoking devices; 14% to GW Pharmaceuticals, a listed British biopharmaceutical company that makes cannabis-based medication; 14% to grower supplies; 9% to cannabis concentrates; 7.5% to air-control and lighting for indoor cannabis growers; 4% to cannabis-based biotech; and the remainder in cash and technology.

Mutual funds next?
Inevitably, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds will look at opportunities in marijuana-related businesses. When that happens, investors who object to such businesses may want to look closely at the holdings of any funds they invest in, as investors do who don’t want to own liquor or conventional-tobacco stocks.

“I don’t think there will be funds and ETFs in the cannabis sector for at least a couple of years,” says Mr. Brochstein. “Liquidity in this space is poor, so mostly you have over-the-counter stocks trading publicly.”

Despite the lack of liquidity, investors are curious. Mr. Barcott says companies that help wealthy individuals invest in cannabis have gone from holding small seminars to “renting out hotel ballrooms.”

Legal sales of marijuana are expected to quintuple to as much as $8 billion in 2019 from $1.6 billion in 2013, according to forecasts from trade publication Marijuana Business Daily. Founding editor Chris Walsh says his publication predicts that more stocks will move to major exchanges, where disclosure and company liquidity is more regulated, in the next two years.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2015/06/colorados_cannacamp_designed_a.html






Colorado's CannaCamp designed as nation's first "marijuana-friendly" ranch resort





DURANGO, Colo. — Colorado is full of all-inclusive ranch resorts where guests hike, fish, play horseshoes and roast marshmallows. This one has a new offering — smoking pot.

The 170-acre CannaCamp opening July 1 in Durango in southwest Colorado calls itself the nation's first cannabis-friendly ranch resort.

Guests won't be given marijuana, because that violates state law. Instead, the resort allows guests to bring their own pot and use it while at the resort.

In addition to horseshoes and hiking, guests are offered yoga sessions and workshops on marijuana cultivation.

"We're bringing an element of luxury to that adventurous, exploratory vibe of childhood summer camp —in a beautiful setting where visitors can enjoy marijuana in a safe, comfortable, social environment," Joel Schneider, head of the management group opening CannaCamp, said in a statement.

Guests stay in cabins that allow smoking on porches but not inside. Rates start at $395 per person per night, with a three-night minimum.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/hea...bis-application-approved-for-teenager-in-coma





(New Zealand) Medicinal cannabis application approved for teenager in coma





A teenager in an induced coma in Wellington Hospital is the first to have received a cannabidiol product signed off by a Government minister.

On Tuesday Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne approved the one-off use of Elixinol, a cannabidiol (CBD) product from the United States for Alex Renton.

The 19-year-old Nelson man has been in hospital since early April and remains in "status epilepticus", a kind of prolonged seizure.

Dunne said doctors have been able to apply for medicinal cannabis products for many years but this is the first time this particular avenue has been used for this particular product.

"I received the advice from the Ministry of Health this morning and that advice was 50/50 saying that there's no compelling evidence that this product will work. On the other hand there's no compelling evidence it will do significant damage to him."

But Dunne stressed this wasn't a precedent and shouldn't be seen as a "significant change in policy".

Alex's family have been fighting for weeks to try an alternative treatment after more than 20 conventional medications failed to help the teenager.

Alex's mother, Rose Renton, said she was incredibly relieved for her son.

"I'm over the moon the hospital supported their promise and Peter Dunne is compassionate. New Zealand is relieved too, I think."

Dunne said the family had been issued with import permits to source the CBD as soon as possible.

"I'm told it's not difficult and can be done within a few days," he said.

On Monday Renton and supporters held a protest outside the hospital, and on Tuesday a small group of protesters were outside the Ministry of Health calling for greater access to medicinal cannabis.

Dunne said the protests played no part in influencing his decision and did more harm than good.

"They're not helpful in these situations."

The Capital and Coast District Health Board made an application to the Ministry of Health on behalf of Alex on Monday.

Dunne said ministry officials considered the application "as a matter of priority" and after he was briefed on Tuesday morning he made the decision to approve it.

"Despite the absence of clinical evidence supporting the efficacy of CBD in patients with Mr Renton's condition, status epilepticus, my decision relies on the dire circumstances and extreme severity of Mr Renton's individual case".

"I have also considered the absence of any other treatment options, the low risk of significant adverse effects, and the conclusion reached by the hospital ethics committee from an individual patient perspective," he said.

On Monday Prime Minister John Key said he wouldn't support a debate in Parliament for broader access to medicinal cannabis because there were other alternatives.

Key said that, while his advice on the subject could change, he was not "actively looking to progress" a parliamentary debate on the topic.

Dunne contacted Key to inform him of his decision to approve the treatment and said the Prime Minister was "very supportive".

"We didn't talk more widely about the issue. I told him particularly about this individual case..."

Labour MP Damien O'Connor said on Monday that the country was ready for a debate on the subject, and if that meant submitting a member's bill or calling for a select committee inquiry, then he would be the driver of it.

Following Dunne's decision, O'Connor said he hoped the treatment would help Alex and he would continue to progress access to CBD for others.

Dunne said Alex's application had been considered as a "stand-alone case and weighed against the severity of his condition".

"My officials will be closely following the outcome of studies overseas, including those due to commence next year in Australia, on the efficacy of different products. Those results will help to inform future legislative and regulatory considerations here in New Zealand."

"I hope for a positive outcome for Mr Renton and his family," he said.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.allure.com/beauty-trends/blogs/daily-beauty-reporter/2015/06/weed-day-spa.html






I Tried a Cannabis Massage and This Is What Happened






I know what you’re thinking: Did it get you high?

That’s all anyone asked me after I got a massage with cannabis cream in Denver, where marijuana is legal.


While I consider myself a connoisseur of spas and weed (only where it’s legal, of course), I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the LoDo Massage Studio. I booked the studio’s signature Mile High Massage using Apothecanna’s Pain Cream, a massage lotion laced with cannabis (plus arnica, peppermint, and juniper—but who cares, right?).

Topical cannabinoids are, according to doctors, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories with, according to The Dude Lebowski, pain-killing properties. I’m going to be honest here—I’m suspicious of the never-ending health claims that position cannabis as a panacea: You can cook with it; it will cure a headache or help you sleep like a baby. It seems too good to be true.

But my massage was ridiculously good. I’m one of those “Harder! No, harder!” massage people. (Does this make me a masochist?) This one was intense even by my yardstick, but still I floated through it in a blissed-out blur. After the massage ended, I felt loosey-goosey relaxed and ready for a nap. Or an order of fries. Maybe someone could throw fries in my mouth while I napped? If I didn't always want fries and a nap, I'd think there might be something to this topical cannabis business.

The only thing to do was investigate further! For science! So off to Primal Wellness in Englewood, Colorado, the “world’s first cannabis-infused spa.” Yes, that line is trademarked, and yes, every service here—facials, waxes, lash extensions, manicures—can be enhanced with something cannabis.

“Our gateway treatment for women is the manicure,” says Danielli Martel, who co-owns the shop. “We use Zoya natural nail polish and organic, vegan cannabis-infused oil during the hand massage. That’s when they get hooked.”

Since it doesn’t penetrate the bloodstream, topical cannabis has no psychogenic effects (meaning you won’t get stoned), but it relaxes muscles so the therapist can go deeper without causing pain. And as I discovered, the power of suggestion can make you feel high. Cannabis oil is also used at the spa to reduce the redness and sting of waxing and to calm stressed-out skin during facials. (“Put cannabis oil on a zit overnight,” says Martel. “You’ll look like a witch with a green wart, but it’ll clear up.”) Even getting lash extensions includes a depuffing cannabis mini massage around your eyes.

Later, therapist Angie Borgeson gave me the first Swedish massage I have ever enjoyed in my entire life. Her strokes were subtle and precise, like an experienced cat burglar picking a lock. “That’s cool,” I murmured into the face hole. “Hey, is there a big variance in how cold people’s feet are?” No idea why, but it seemed very important at the time.

So did it get me high? That depends on your definition. I didn’t get baked, but I felt something between a runner’s high and post-coital bliss, along with the certainty that massage and marijuana go together like peanut butter and chocolate. And I could definitely go for a Reese’s right now.

Update: Stoners aren’t exactly known for their business acumen. In the time it took to write this, Primal Wellness spa went out of business. But don’t worry: You still have options.
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ironman-terminator-stuntman-claims-cannabis-5847961





Ironman and Terminator stuntman claims: "Cannabis oil cured me of cancer"





A Hollywood stuntman claims he has managed to cure his stage four colon cancer by using cannabis oil.

Mark Chavarria, 46, who has appeared in big budget films including Ironman, Inception, and the Terminator franchise, was diagnosed with the disease in September 2013.

The daredevil had been suffering symptoms for many years, but it took his childhood sweetheart Alyssa to threaten divorce before he would seek help.

He discovered the disease had taken over his body, with tumours consuming nearly 70 percent of his colon, as well as infiltrating his liver.

At first the Texan tried chemotherapy and radiation therapy and was on a cocktail of medicine to enable him to use the toilet without suffering agony.

He told High Times: "The chemo and radiation was so intense. I’ve been doing stunts for over 20 years, so I know what pain is, I’ve been lit on fire, I’ve flipped cars, I’ve gone out windows, I’ve fought a lot of people, but this was the extreme of extreme pain.”

It was then that a high school friend of his suggested he tried medicinal marijuana and, after his wife had done the research, he was persuaded to try it.

The father of one started taking the cannabis oil in December 2013 and in June 2014 he woke up one morning feeling as though the cancer was gone.

At his next checkup, the doctor did not see any presence of tumors, only scar tissue from the radiation.

Doctors put his recovery down to chemotherapy, but insists it was the cannabis oil that had saved him.

He added: "What I believe happens with the oil is it makes like a shellac on the tumors, and it doesn’t let it grow; doesn’t let it breathe; doesn’t let it eat… nothing. I think it was slowly, but surely, peeling away at the tumors like an onion."

He is now planning to make a documentary, called Way To Go FECO about his experiences and to promote medicinal marijuana.

However experts are advising cancer sufferers desparate to try cannabis oil to be careful, especially as it is illegal in the UK and much of the US.

Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science communications manager, told the Mirror: “We know that cannabinoids – the active chemicals found in cannabis – can have a range of different effects on cancer cells grown in the lab and animal tumours.

“But at the moment there isn’t good evidence from clinical trials to prove that they can safely and effectively treat cancer in patients.

"Despite this, we are aware some cancer patients do choose to treat themselves with cannabis extracts. These stories can help build a picture of whether these treatments are helping or not, although this is weak compared to clinical trials.“
 

7greeneyes

MedicalNLovingIt!
Joined
Jul 25, 2008
Messages
8,070
Reaction score
787
http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/06/09/indys-cannabis-church-finds-home/28736707/





(Indiana) Indy's Cannabis Church finds a home





The First Church of Cannabis has found a joint it can call its own.

Church founder Bill Levin said he has bought a church building at 3400 S. Rural St. and will announce the move at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the site.

"It is small and humble facility with love through out every brick," he wrote on his Facebook page." We are HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!"

Levin, the church's self-appointed "minister of love," said the Eastside building would hold 150 to 200 worshippers.

The church has two rows of pews 10 deep, office space, a kitchen and a large basement for community meetings.

Levin said one of the offices will be a souvenir store and in the basement, the church will host Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.

He said thousands of people have volunteered to help get the church, formerly the location of the Hansing Park Christian Church, into shape or inquired about opening chapters.

By Wednesday morning, Levin hopes to have the church logo on the front sign, a cannabis plant supported by a block with the word "Love."

The Cannabis Church is looking for volunteers to paint and provide maintenance at the building. Levin also is seeking a webmaster and plans to hold the church's first ceremony on July 1, the day the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act becomes law.

It's yet another bit of good news for the church in recent weeks. The Internal Revenue Service, in a letter dated May 21, said it had approved the church's request to make it a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. The designation means donors can deduct money sent to the church on their federal tax returns and the church also would be eligible for a property tax exemption in Indiana. The church also has raised more than $15,000 for its new home on a gofundme.com account.

Levin formed the church as a means to test RFRA, which offers protections from the government infringing on religious practices. At the first service, Levin said his members will follow blessings by smoking marijuana in what he describes as a religious practice.

RFRA drew national attention because critics claimed it was a thinly disguised tool to allow business owners to refuse service to same-sex couples for religious reasons.
 
Top