Updated: June 22, 2010 at 12:00 am
What did Moses do after kneeling by the burning bush?
“He smoked it,” said the Rev. Roger Christie, who gave a lecture Tuesday at Penrose Library on ingesting marijuana to heighten religious experience.
“Moses was healed by the burning bush,” said Christie, who said he believes the holy bush is one of hundreds of references in the Bible to cannabis, the plant used to make marijuana.
Christie, a Hawaiian resident who founded the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry a decade ago, has started five cannabis churches in the United States, including one in Nederland, about a three-hour drive from the Pikes Peak region.
He hopes to found a Springs cannabis church where the drug is smoked, inhaled or swallowed as a sacrament.
Christie, 61, said all religions began with people taking mind-altering drugs. “Someone threw a branch on a campfire, inhaled and had so much fun with that,” he said.
The numerous biblical references to holy oils, Christie insists, are a mixture of myrrh, cinnamon, olive oil and cannabis. He’s re-created the mixture and anoints people during his services.
Christie, who has been ingesting marijuana for 43 years, believes that, when cannabis is used in a religious context, it brings one closer to God.
“Cannabis allows access to more information that God makes potentially available,” said Christie, dressed in a open-collar shirt, white sneakers and khakis.
Medical marijuana has become a hot issue in Colorado as more than 100 dispensaries have been established this year to sell the drug. This month, two state laws went into effect that regulate dispensaries, causing patients to fear that their marijuana supply will be cut off.
To those patients, Christie says, the cannabis church may be the answer. The First Amendment protects religious belief and practice, including using cannabis as a sacrament, he said. Moreover, he said, Article II, section 4 of the Colorado Constitution protects freedom of religion and the practitioner’s “mode of worship.”
Christie said his experiences with marijuana have been mostly positive, though he admits to overdosing three times after ingesting food heavily laced with the drug.
That’s why Christie places safeguards at his churches to make sure the sacramental ingesting occurs in a quiet, thoughtful atmosphere and that no one overindulges.
“The sacrament is for sincere people,” he said.
Though Christie’s lecture only drew seven people, enthusiasm was high.
Rick Royer, 57, traveled from Denver. He recently started smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes and is intrigued by its application to religion.
“I’ve had thoughts of illumination” while smoking, he said.
To learn more about the Cannabis Ministry and an upcoming event in Nederland, got to Barna’s blog, “The Pulpit,” at www.thepulpit.freedomblogging.com.