INDIANAPOLIS - Paperwork for the First Church of Cannabis Inc. was filed Thursday – the same day Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law.
Church founder Bill Levin, who filed paperwork with the Secretary of State's office to register the church as a non-profit, posted to his Facebook page that church and its "cannataerians" would seek "love, understanding and good health."
The filing comes as RTV6 political insider Abdul-Hakim Shabazz said on his blog, IndyPolitics.org , that the Colorado-based Green Faith Ministries believed it could expand its ministry into Indiana .
Green Faith Ministries uses marijuana as part of its sacrament, Shabazz reported.
Marijuana is currently illegal in Indiana for both medical and recreational use.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act prevents state government from "substantially burdening" a person's exercise of religion only if it can demonstrate that it is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest.
Numerous courts, among them the U.S. Supreme Court, have consistently held that the state and federal government have a compelling interest in maintaining the prohibition against marijuana, including for medical uses.
According to Levin's Facebook page, members of the First Church of Cannabis will be asked for individual donations of $4.20 a month.
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