First Church of Cannabis Founder Bill Levin is seeking the Libertarian Party nomination for governor of Indiana, according to an NWI Times report. Levin ran as a Libertarian for a state House seat in 2014 and received 11 percent of the vote.
In 2016, Libertarian candidate Rex Bell garnered just 1.3 percent of the vote in the gubernatorial race in a losing effort to Republican incumbent Gov. Eric Holcomb.
Levin, dubbed the “Grand Poohba” and “Minister of Love,” founded the church in response to Indiana’s 2015 “religious freedom law” but the congregation does not use cannabis in its ceremonies. According to the Cannaterian “Deity Dozen” commandments, the church considers cannabis a “healing plant.”
“It brings us closer to ourselves and others. It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression,” Levin wrote in a 2015 memo posted on a GoFundMe site. “We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group.”
“It’s real simple. It’s love and human compassion versus greed and selfishness. It’s an easy win. Our state needs love, compassion, and good health right now.” – Levin, in an interview with High Times
Levin told High Times that if Indiana were a ballot initiative state, cannabis would have been legalized a decade ago.
“But unfortunately, the GOP controls the state and nobody is talking about ballot initiatives. When I’m elected governor, ballot initiative is one of the things I am going to put on point,” he said in the interview. “We will have it so the people of this state can decide what their future is, rather than the corporations who buy our politicians.”
The church had sued the state over cannabis prohibition, saying it violated their religious freedom. The church was not successful in that case.