INDIANAPOLIS, April 2 (UPI) -- The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana created another controversial outcome, the approval of the "First Church of Cannabis."
Indiana's Secretary of State approved the First Church of Cannabis Inc. on March 26. The church was a direct response to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signing the Religious Freedom Act into law, according to The Washington Post.
Church founder Bill Levin said he wanted to start a church "based on love and understanding with compassion for all."
"If someone is smoking in our church, God bless them," Levin said. "This is a church to show a proper way of life, a loving way to live life. We are called 'cannataerians.'"
The religion does not require marijuana use, but instead asks that participants "embrace cannabis."
Recreational and medicinal use for marijuana is illegal in Indiana. Levin said he will not buy or sell marijuana, but plans on growing hemp. The church received $2,000 in donations and more than 7,000 Facebook fans after five days of existing. The church's Facebook page currently has more than 21,000 likes.
Levin hopes to build the first church or temple out of hempcrete, a building material similar to concrete that also includes hemp.
Levin owns Levin Consulting, a consulting and marketing company. He says he is not religious.
"I'm very faith-driven, I'm very spiritual and I'm filled with love," he said. "I find that most religions are misled into gross perversions of what they are meant to be. This path has led me to lead a religion that people in today's world can relate to it. We don't have any guilt doctrine built in. We don't have any sin built in."