LANSING — A non-denominational church eager to combat the stigma often associated with marijuana use plans to hold Sunday its first service that’s welcome to all.
The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason is scheduled to hold its inaugural service and potluck from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, led by Jackson resident Jeremy Hall, a 34-year-old ordained minister. It will be held inside the Lansing Herbal Farmers Market, 918 Southland Ave.
Hall is a state-licensed medical marijuana patient and caregiver who intends to have weekly services at the location that inspire and encourage community outreach. He said Lansing is the perfect place for the church because it has shown support of medical marijuana use and dispensaries since the state’s Medical Marihuana Act of 2008.
City officials and residents who have voiced opinions in public meetings estimate there could be up to 70 dispensaries in the city.
“What I’m hoping to accomplish in the long run is to provide a place where people can be spiritual, but can also feel safe to take any of their medication,” Hall said. “If they also feel cannabis is part of their spirituality, they can combine the two in a safe environment.”
Hall estimates at least 40 people will attend the church’s first service. As of Thursday afternoon, a Facebook page for the church’s first service drew attendance commitments from 39 people. Hall said he believe First Cannabis Church is the first of its kind in Michigan. The church, according to the Facebook page, “leaves religious theology up to the individual” and aims to uplift members and the community through “personal moral growth and philosophical understanding.”
Hall encourages both medical marijuana users and non-users to visit the non-profit, agnostic place of worship and bring an an open mind with them. He said marijuana can be part of a religious experience because it can help people in pain and create a sense of belonging.
“You are consuming something that is breaking down all these preconceived notions and barriers and provides an outpouring of love,” Hall said.
Lansing voters passed in 2013 a City Charter amendment that mandates nothing in the city’s Code of Ordinances applies to the use, possession or transfer of less than once ounce of marijuana on private property by a person who is at least 21.
Since the service will be held on private property, Hall doesn’t anticipate any problems or abuse of city rules and regulations. The congregation is expected to pass a marijuana roach collection jar around during the service to provide for marijuana patients in need.
“If you have any extra or if you normally toss them out, please consider saving them up and bringing them with you. Every one helps!!!,” the church’s Facebook page reads.
Anyone who brings dishes to pass at the church’s potluck is asked to label clearly if the dishes are infused with marijuana or oil produced by marijuana.
The church’s first service comes at a time with Lansing City Council members are considering creation of a marijuana ordinance that could affect dispensary owners, licensed patients and caregivers. Owners of dispensaries, also known as provisioning centers, have been operating at their own peril since the state’s Medical Marihuana Act of 2008.
Chris Walsh, the Marijuana Business Daily’s founder, said Lansing can reap the benefits of a growing, multi-billion dollar medical marijuana industry nationally if the city embraces the culture supporting it and passes sensible regulations.
“It’s a lot like whack-a-mole,” Walsh said of Lansing and other municipalities across the county lacking regulations. “(Success) really depends on the resources the city has and the dedication it has in enforcing the law.”
The national trade magazine’s 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook reports that “cannabis storefronts” average $974 in revenue annually per square foot of space – slightly higher than the typical Whole Foods store.