Meet The Jewish Grand Poobah Of The First Church Of Cannabis

INDIANA: Athough he grew up at the Reform-affiliated Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, Bill Levin recently founded a church. And not just any church — the First Church of Cannabis, for which Levin will serve as the Minister of Love.

Sound like a joke? Not to Levin, although he tends to refer to himself in church dealings as the Grand Poobah. And apparently it’s no joke as well to government bureaucracy: the church was approved by Indiana’s secretary of state Connie Lawson in March and recognized last week by the IRS as a tax-exempt religious organization.

The Times of Israel caught Levin in a phone conversation in his new premises on the south side of Indianapolis. The area, known for tattoo parlors and head shops, is home to a 150-seat sanctuary that has been used as a church for the past several decades.