With a shock of spiky white hair and an ever-present smoldering cigar, Minister of Love Bill Levin sits relaxed in an overstuffed chair covered in animal print and ponders a post-prohibition America. A perennial Libertarian candidate and one of the forces behind Re-Legalize Indiana, Bill is an unlikely figure to be challenging Republican Governor Mike Pence and the Hoosier State’s newly minted “Religious Freedom Act.”
But here he sits, regal beneath a steampunk portrait of him made entirely of rolling papers. The Grand Poobah of The First Church of Cannabis, Levin has brilliantly turned the red state’s Religious Freedom Act into a tool to challenge Indiana’s outdated cannabis laws. And in doing so he has captured the hearts and minds of supporters from around the country, and around the globe, who have responded with massive outpouring of love, media attention and cash donations.
The First Church of Cannabis is an undeniable success: barely 90 days old, and has attracted hundreds of new members, thousands of dollars of donations and nearly 35,000 Facebook followers from around the world to the cause. Last week the IRS affirmed the Church’s non-profit status, and Bill sees his movement as part of an unstoppable tide of reform washing across the country.
MJNewsNetwork traveled to Indianapolis to sit down with charismatic Minister of Love. In an exclusive two-part interview, MJNN explores the Cannabis Church’s “New Deity Dozen” – twelve common sense principles for the modern Cannabiterian (#1 is “Don’t Be An Asshole”), his motivations for starting the church, and what exactly he expects to happen on July 1st when hundreds of congregants will BYOB – bring their own bud – to the first service. Enjoy!
1) Don’t be an asshole. Treat everyone with Love as an equal.