First Church of Cannabis marches downtown on 4/20

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH)—The First Church of Cannabis marched from the Indiana Statehouse to the City County Building on April 20, a day the group considers a holiday.

The group is fighting to legalize recreational pot use. Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in eight states. The group made headlines in 2015 when they claimed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act gives them the right to smoke pot—a battle they’re still fighting in court.

“I love you! I love you! Happy 4/20 everyone!” founder Bill Levin shouted into his megaphone.

Levin said marijuana reform across the country is sparking his optimism, but this week, he’s watching a bill in the Indiana Statehouse.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow people with epilepsy to use a compound called cannabidiol to treat their seizures. The Senate passed the bill, but House Speaker Brian Bosma said Thursday is not the day for a House vote.

“I expect when it is acted upon, it will be virtually unanimous,” Bosma said. “It probably won’t be on 4/20 because that seems to be such a big deal for somebody,” Bosma continued.

The law would require the state health board to keep track of any person with epilepsy legally using cannabidiol. Lawmakers said the level of THC in the treatment won’t be enough to get patients high.

“The folks with the children that have epileptic attacks—and this is found to be one of the few things that will mitigate their condition and allow them to live somewhat of a normal life—have made a good case about the efficacy of cannabidiol,” Bosma said. “So even those of us who have some reservation in this regard, I think, have been convinced.”

Levin sees the bill as a step in the right direction; in his eyes, the right direction is full legalization.

Medical marijuana is already legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C. Levin said he hopes Indiana will legalize medical pot by 2020.

If the bill on cannabidiol passes the House, it will get to the governor’s desk.

Levin said his group does not use marijuana at services — they just celebrate its existence. Levin expects a ruling in the group’s lawsuit over the RFRA later this year.

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