The relationship between marijuana and religion goes back thousands of years. But for now, that relationship is illegal in the United States.
Two churches in California are being investigated by city government for giving out marijuana to worshippers. At Coachella Valley Church in San Jose, members pay a $10 donation and get checked in by a receptionist. After that, they're brought into the chapel area where a video of a sermon is played. They then are ushered into the backroom where they can purchase an array of marijuana products. Another church in San Jose, called Oklevueha Native American Church, is also under investigation and a judge recently signed an injunction telling them to stop selling cannabis.
The issue isn't that the churches are selling marijuana. It's that they're doing so without a license and without giving money back to the city. San Jose allows 16 marijuana dispensaries to operate within its borders, all of whom pay 10 percent of their gross sales back to the city. The two churches do not pay any taxes back to the city on their marijuana sales.
While the method that Oklevuha Native American Church sells marijuana wasn't disclosed, certainly the practices at Coachella Valley Church are questionable to say the least. It sounds more like people trying to pretend their dispensary is a church so they can get away with paying no taxes.
But this would definitely be a good strategy for churches looking to increase their attendance.
(h/t ABC 13)