Elevationists.org/” target=” blank”>International Church of Cannabis. “
Under the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, indoor smoking is disallowed on a public premise, no matter whether you’re smoking cigarettes, cannabis, or any other herb. “
While the church didn’t have a consumption area license, says Bordovsky, the penalties for both charges are merely fines of no more than a couple hundred dollars each.
Malloy says the church doesn’t have a public consumption license expressly because it’s a church: “We have a cannabis burning ritual and meditation as part of our service. “
He says the fines are about $200 for one charge, $100 for the other, and then the fee rises for every time the church is cited, up to $500 per occurrence per person. “
The debate isn’t over whether cannabis consumption happened at the church, but whether the 4/20 event at the church can be considered open and public. It has to be both for the church to be found guilty, explains their attorney Warren Edson. “The Clean Indoor Air Act says people that have gatherings or businesses where there are four or more employees should not burn plant materials indoors,” he says. There was only one part of the event that included cannabis consumption, and to gain access, you had to email the church with your name to receive an invitation, and then to gain entry to the service, you had to bring that invitation with proper ID to verify identity and age, he explains. “One of the officers sent a fake email address, and then went back and complained that he followed procedure and hadn’t been let in, which wasn’t true because he used a fake email address, and then unfortunately he was let in,” Edson says. “There’s no jury instructions for the Colorado Clean Air Act, we had to make them up from scratch” says Edson. It was rejected on the grounds that the church wasn’t receiving benefits from the federal government. “They would have been registered as a church, though now they are,” he says.
As a cannabis church, Lee Malloy and his co-founders are still planning to hold a 4/20 service this year. “We are having church service as usual, as 4/20 falls on a Friday, which is our regular service day,” Malloy says.