Cannabis Ministry seeks Boulder County disciples |

Cannabis Ministry seeks Boulder County disciples

Activists hope religious protections will apply to nonmedical pot uses

Erica Meltzer, Boulder Daily Camera

— The first time Roger Christie smoked pot, he got high, in more ways than one.

“It fed me spiritually in a way I didn’t even know I needed,” he said. “I felt whole and complete.”

The Steamboat Springs native went on to found The Hawaii Cannabis (THC) Ministry, a church where marijuana is the sacrament, 10 years ago in Hilo and has since been spreading the ganja gospel around the country — and now around Colorado.

An effort last year to establish a Cannabis Ministry branch in Boulder didn’t pan out, but now longtime marijuana activist and Nederland dispensary owner Kathleen Chippi has been ordained as a minister in the church and plans to open Closer to the Heart Ministries in the mountain town sometime next month.

New state regulations have left many medical marijuana dispensaries with an uncertain future, and doctors who recommend marijuana are under increased scrutiny. Frustrated by these developments, some activists are turning to the as-yet-untested idea that marijuana use is protected under the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. They hope that will provide a way for more people to use cannabis without government interference.

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