A church devoted to Cannabis in Denver has been ordered to remove a sculpture but its founder said the demand is an attack on its religious freedom.
The International Church of Cannabis said the order from the city last month that it take down a pink sculpture is also a violation of its First Amendment right to practice its religion.
Denver city claimed the sculpture was unsafe to drivers on the adjacent roads and said that even if the church applied Liquid Thc Drops For Sale a permit, it would probably be denied.
The eleven-foot pink sculpture, called Public Defender, was donated by the artist who created it and sits in front of the church on the corner of a junction.
The eleven-foot pink sculpture, called Public Defender, was donated to the International Church of Cannabis by the artist who created it
The interior of the church, refurbished in 2017, is pained in colorful psychedelic patterns.Its members are referred to as Elevationists and use cannabis to improve themselves
Members of the church, founded in 2017, are known as Elevationists and use the ‘sacred flower’ of cannabis to guide themselves on journeys of self-improvement.
The church also operates as a tourist attraction and is number seven on Trip Advisor’s ‘Top Attractions in Denver’.It routinely puts on light shows inside its refurbished church, which is painted in colorful psychedelic patterns.
Founder of the church, Steve Berke, that demands to take the art away are hypocritical as they come from a city that considers itself liberal.
‘You’d think liberal city, liberal government, they’d welcome this cool new religion that is welcoming and bringing local people to the neighborhood and stimulating the economy,’ Berke told Fox News.
‘You’d think they’d love us, but they don’t,’ he added, claiming the city had repeatedly taken issue with his church.
Visitors to church were asked by local outlet whether they agreed it was a hazard.
‘Not at all,’ said tourist Jason Pollock.’I think it’s beautiful.’
Scott Donahoe, an engineer who was working in the area also didn’t think it was a problem.
‘I think the parked cars are more in the way than the sculpture,’ Donahoe said.’I don’t see it being an issue.’
Elevationists gather around the sculpture for 42-second meditations
The city of Denver claimed the sculpture in front of the church was a threat to drivers on adjacent roads
Elevationists often gather around the sculpture for 42-second meditations in which they reflect on how to achieve a better version of self, an important ritual for the church, Berke told Fox News.
‘I hope the city of Denver recognizes our right to exist and our right to have this religious effigy, this representation of the freedom of religion that all Americans should have,’ Berke told Fox News.
‘The city of Denver is really encapsulating the perfect example of big government passing unnecessary laws that don’t protect anyone and infringing on our First Amendment rights,’ he said.
Berke claimed the city sent him a letter last month saying it had two weeks to apply for a permit or it would be bulldozed.The city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure however denied those claims in a statement to Denver7.
‘The idea of us bulldozing in two weeks is ridiculous and would not align with any established practices,’ the statement read.
The department claimed Berke was confused about the two-week window.’The instruction the church received was to reach out to our permitting team within two weeks – not to ‘get’ the permit in two weeks,’ the statement read.
But then days later it sent another email, telling Berke that it could not stop the church from making an application but that if it did it would probably be denied.
The church was established in 2017 and devoted to using cannabis for the elevation of self
‘Although we cannot prevent any application for Encroachment Permit to the City, we have taken the time to review photo and inspector notes from the field, and have reasonably determined that the sculpture as installed does not meet minimum placement, height, and vehicle sight line criteria,’ it said in an email seen by Denver7.
Berke said he was upset the verdict on the sculpture was predetermined and proof of the city’s unfair treatment of the church.He also argued that claims the sculpture presents any threats is invalid.
‘Whether you’re going here on Dakota Street or coming from Logan Street, the cars on Logan street are more of an encroachment than the sculpture,’ Berke said.
‘We’re showing people that if you fight for your First Amendment rights, you are defending your American liberty,’ he said.‘And that’s a really important thing, even in left-leaning cities and states.’