If you were planning on taking part in the First Church of Cannabis’ inaugural service this upcoming Wednesday, I have bad news for you. Church founder Bill Levin has announced via his Facebook page that there will be no marijuana use at the church’s kick-off event.
Last week Marion County prosecutor Terry Curry and Police Chief Rick Hite held a news conference to let folks know that arrests would be made if those in attendance chose to bring their pot with them.
Initially after the news conference, Levin had said this latest development changed nothing, and it would be business as usual for the First Church of Cannabis.
However on Monday Levin changed his tune.
"Due to the threat of police action against our religion I feel it is important to CELEBRATE LIFE'S GREAT ADVENTURE in our first service WITHOUT THE USE OF CANNABIS," Levin wrote on his Facebook page. "The Police dept has waged a display of shameless misconceptions and voluntary ignorance. We will do our first service without the use of any cannabis. CANNABIS WILL BE PROHIBITED ON THE FIRST SERVICE.
"We will not be dragged into criminal court for their advantage. We will meet them in a civil court where the laws are clear about religious persecution. We do not start fights. We finish Them!
Several of the responses to Levin's Facebook post were unhappy with the new stance the church has taken.
“I'm disappointed that the police scare tactics have worked," one response said. "Civil disobedience is an honorable tactic that often works where other less confrontational methods fail. Backing down sends the wrong message."
In turn, Levin wrote his own message to those who would criticize the move.
"We will win this on the high plain of dignity and discipline," Levin wrote, "not in a criminal court from a rowdy brawl with law officers."
The First Church of Cannabis inaugural service is still scheduled for noon Wednesday at the cathedral, 3400 South Rural Street in Indianapolis.