Indiana's First Church of Cannabis will not be using any of its namesake herb at the inaugural service scheduled for Wednesday, the church's founder announced Monday afternoon.
Bill Levin, founder and "Grand Poobah" of the church, posted on his Facebook page that because of threats over legal action by law enforcement, he will not be allowing any marijuana use on Wednesday.
"Due to the threat of police action against our religion I feel it is important to celebrate life's great adventure in our first service without the use of cannabis," he wrote.
Marijuana will be prohibited, according to Levin. "We will not be dragged into criminal court for their advantage," he said. Levin does, he said in an interview with WFYI, plan to pursue civil action against the city over threats of arrest.
The Marion County prosecutor and chief of the Indianapolis police department threatened at a press conference on Friday to arrest anyone who used or possessed pot on Wednesday and urged people to stay away.
Levin said he wouldn't "play the game" of IMPD chief Rick Hite.
Levin promised Friday to still move forward with the service, though. His cannabis church could be a possible direct test case to Indiana's religious freedom law, which goes into effect July 1 and protects people from government intervention in the name of religious liberty.
"Right now this is religious persecution at its finest," Levin said of the arrest threats. Those threats are enough, according to Levin, to trigger the religious freedom law and he will sue the government over them.
Levin created the church of cannabis after RFRA was passed this spring. It has tax-exempt status and boasts over 700 members.