‘Elevating Yourself’: Colorado church houses unique group


Illustration by Jack Lambert

Instead of a patron saint or diety, the International Church of Cannabis praises marijuana without a religious text or scripture.

Miles King, News Reporter

The International Church of Cannabis opened its doors on perhaps the most appropriate date of the year April 20, 2017 (also known as “4/20”).
Located in Denver, Colorado, the church is home to a group that call themselves Elevationists.

“Through ritual, guided by spiritual practice, church members use the sacred flower to reveal the best version of self, discover a creative voice and enrich their community with the fruits of that creativity,” stated the group on their website.

The Elevationists are nondenominational and do not follow any religious authoritative structure, divine law or sacred texts.

Myrinda Wolitarsky, a CWU student and an avid church-goer, accepts the group as a legitimate organization citing First Amendment freedoms; however, she did not express interest in joining.

“Some people could take it as mocking of the church,” Wolitarsky said; although, she personally did not take any offense.

Wolitarsky also struggled to grasp the idea that the Elevationists are truly a church, considering the lack of authoritative structure or divine law.

“The definition of church relates back to Christianity,” Wolitarsky said.
With no divine preference, she questioned if the group should be truly called a church, but also recognized their religious freedom.

Although marijuana is much less addictive than harder substances, religion and marijuana can conflict if addiction develops, according to Wolitarsky.

“Addiction can be a sin if it’s taking away from your desire to serve God,” said Wolitarsky, referring to Christianity specifically.

Deann Cunningham, manager at Cannabis Central in Ellensburg, recognized that marijuana is used for a variety of reasons.

“It helps different needs for everyone,” Cunningham said.

Some utilize pot for recreational use while others for medical purposes.

For the Elevationists, the purpose is finding the best version of yourself and using it to better the community.

The Elevationists have already received some opposition from residents in the neighborhood citing concern for parking space and the church’s proximity to a nearby playground, according to The Denver Post.

The church, while complying with Colorado state law, is still being closely monitored by city agencies.