From the Rastafari movement, to Hindu sages and Taoist shamans, world religions have used cannabis for thousand of years as a tool to elevate consciousness, aid the journey to enlightenment, and even reveal the future.
Christianity hasn't, historically speaking, been one of those religions commonly associated with cannabis consumption. But as it's legalized by some states, and grows increasingly mainstream across North America, some churches are taking literally the words of Timothy 4:4, which states that "everything God created is good."
One major proponent of the idea that the faithful should, in fact, be encouraged to smoke weed? The First Church of Cannabis, which recently made headlines when it was granted tax-exempt status by the IRS. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, the church was founded by ex-punk band manager, politician, and huckster Bill Levin, who refers to himself and followers of his new religion as Cannaterians.
Levin's " Deity Dozen" - the First Church of Cannabis' answer to the 10 Commandments - include oddly specific prohibitions against drinking soda and being an internet troll. Here's the full list.
1. Don't be an a**h***. Treat everyone with love as an equal.
2. The day starts with your smile every morning, when you get up, wear it first.
3. Help others when you can. Not for money, but because it's needed.
4. Treat your body as a temple. Do not poison it with poor quality foods and sodas.
5. Do not take advantage of people. Do not intentionally hurt anything.
6. Never start a fight … only finish them.
7. Grow food, raise animals, get nature into your daily routine.
8. Do not be a "troll" on the Internet, respect others without name calling and being vulgarly aggressive.
9. Spend at least 10 minutes a day just contemplating life in a quiet space.
10. When you see a bully… stop them by any means possible. Protect those who cannot protect themselves.
11. Laugh often, share humor. Have fun in life, be positive.
12. Cannabis. "the healing plant" is our sacrament. It brings us closer to ourselves and others. It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group."
In addition to following the Deity Dozen, wannabe ministers (or " Poobahs," as they're called) of the First Church of Cannabis are also - somewhat alarmingly - required to donate a minimum of $4.20 monthly.
Sound a bit like smoke and mirrors to you?