The gathering was a kick-off for what organizer Jeremy Hall hopes will become monthly meetings celebrating cannabis’ spiritual properties.
He chooses the word spirituality intentionally. The church has no specific ideology, no texts or prophets to speak of.
“The biggest question I get is, ‘How can this be a church if we don’t subscribe to a religious theology?’” he told attendees.
“Well, the reality is it sounded better than a cannabis cult.”
Those sitting in the worship room laughed.
The church is BYOB, bring your own beliefs, with spirituality brought on by cannabis use serving as the uniting core principal. It’s first gathering was held at Lansing Herbal Farmers Market on Southland Avenue near Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
A Tennessee transplant, Hall and his wife, Regan, moved to Michigan in part because of legal medical marijuana. Outside of being a marijuana caregiver, Hall is an ordained minister who hopes church members will help to change perceptions about marijuana users.
“We’re using our church to elevate the community and to show we aren’t a drain on society or a bunch of unmotivated criminals,” he added.
The church has already handed out fans and water to people during hot summer days and gave out 100 hygiene kits to attendees for distribution to those in need. Some in attendance smoked or ingested marijuana beforehand, while others looked on sober.
East Lansing resident Kevin Kesseler was drawn to the debut service by curiosity. Without a medical marijuana card, the 47-year-old wasn’t allowed to try the baked goods and joints, referred to as religious materials, available in a nearby room. His interest in marijuana is research and commercial-based.
Kesseler is launching a new business, Adderstone Predictive Analytics, to conduct testing on marijuana so that it can one day be understood and prescribed by doctors.
“The current system doesn’t allow for commercialization at the drugs stores or pharmacies until more testing is done,” he said.
Moving toward a more studied and predictive system for marijuana medication is music to the ears of Regan Hall. She uses medical marijuana to treat her lupus. She prefers it to prescription medicines that carry a risk of severe side effects.
“I’d like it if there was less work you had to do yourself and could go see a doctor and get a prescription (for a specific type of marijuana) instead,” she said.
Aside from one protester armed with a sign saying marijuana was about the money for sellers, not helping people with health problems, Hall said he’s received nothing but encouragement. “The reaction from the community has been extremely positive so far,” he said.