First Church of Cannabis files suit against Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The First Church of Cannabis held a press conference Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the State House.

The announcement was posted on church leader, Bill Levin’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

During the conference he told those gathered at the conference that the church planned to file a suit against the state and city.

“Those laws place an unreasonable burden upon the exercises of my client’s religious practices and religious society,” said attorney Mark Small, who is representing the Church of Cannabis.

Small also acknowledged that there are some frustrations with the group because the police threaten to arrest visitors for visiting a public nuisance. The group didn’t shy away from the desire to smoke marijuana during meetings at the Church of Cannabis.

“Their sacrament is marijuana. It is something that provides them peace, it is a healing herb. Not being able to smoke it – they can’t practice their religion,” said Small

On July 1 the church held their first service after the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act became law. According to church leaders, RFRA gives them legal right to smoke marijuana during their church services.

However, their first service was absent of any marijuana following law enforcement’s stern warning to the Levin. But they say they accomplished what they wanted which is a church built on love and compassion.

On the same day a security camera went up outside the church.

Despite all the controversy leading up to the first service there were no arrests or major incidents.

The First Church of Cannabis held their second service on Wednesday.

There were a couple of police officers patrolling the neighborhood that kept watch on the service from outside.

Marijuana was nowhere to be found inside the sanctuary during the service. The police chief made it very clear that anyone caught smoking would be arrested.

Mark Smalls is representing the First Church of Cannabis in the lawsuit and he said he feels confidant in his case.

“I think we have excellent arguments but once you get into court it’s the judge who makes the decision and its the witnesses who presents the evidence,” said Smalls.

Church members said they will continue to attend church services on Wednesday night, even if they aren’t allowed to smoke. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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