12:33 GMT05 December 2020
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    Bill Levin, founder of the First Church of Cannabis, Inc., filed paperwork this week with the Indiana Secretary of State to register his group as a non-profit organization.

    The move comes after Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, a political insider, hinted on his blog that Colorado-based Green Health Ministries may expand into Indiana. The organization uses cannabis as part of its sacraments.

    Although marijuana is illegal in Indiana for medical and recreational use, Levin’s filing was made on the same day Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration act—a bill which aims to prevent the government from forcing citizens to do something that violates religious beliefs.

    The law would stop government when it interferes with “a person's exercise of religion only if it can demonstrate that it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest.”

    Preventing the use of marijuana has been argued as a significant government interest in courts throughout the nation including the U.S. Supreme Court.  

    According to Levin’s Facebook page, his church will ask its "Cannataerians" for donations of $4.20 a month to pursue its mission of finding “love, understanding and good health."

    Tags:
    religion, religious freedom, medicinal marijuana, marijuana legalization, marijuana, First Church of Cannabis, Supreme Court, Green Health Ministries, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Mike Pence, Indianapolis, Indiana
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