What will you do for 4/20 here in Denver?
In the Mile High City, the 420 celebration is a major event, usually with Headliners at Red Rocks, a celebration at Civic Center Park, and small parties all over the city at retail shops.
Not sure what to do? You can:
Try to get tickets to Snoop Doggs wellness retreat at Red Rocks.
Check out the King of Cups Cannabis Competition.
Head over to a Marijuana Centric Burlesque show.
Why not try something different?
International Church of Cannabis, elevate your mind!
But something very unique to Denver that you might not know, is that there is a Church dedicated to the culture! And before you ask, no it’s not just an excuse to smoke more weed. Marijuana is already legal here, so they use it to create a very vibrant and accepting community.
The controversial Alma White
The Church started off life as an actual Church that was built in 1904 at the cost of $88,000 ($2,482,470.00 in today’s dollars) and was known as Barnitz Memorial Lutheran Church. Several Reverends gave fiery speeches at this location, and none were so controversial as the outspoken, feminist, racist Alma White.
Alma was the first Female Bishop consecrated in the United States in 1918. Alma purchased the church around 1915 for $20,000.00 ($501,480.00 in today’s dollars) from the mortgage holders. She moved the Pillar of Fire, as her ministry was known, out of the tents on the streets of Denver and into the building at 400 S. Logan Street.
Feminist, business woman, Klan sympathizer, and temperance movement leader
Alma was no stranger to hot topics, and not only did she deliver sermons aimed at raising the spirituality of the local population, she was by all accounts a shrewd negotiator who regularly made great deals in real estate and business. Her goal was to make the church a youth church, where she would would teach the children through the use of “dramatic and other instructive means, the evil effects of alcohol on the human system”. She was at the forefront of the temperance movement before Prohibition was passed around legislature in 1919. Alma eventually acquired a radio station and moved the church from 400 S. Logan to Westminster Colorado, and finally New Jersey and called it “The Pillar of Fire” as her congregants had taken to calling it from passages from Exodus.
How the International Church of Cannabis came to be
The building continued in use a Lutheran Church, with presumably (and hopefully) more tolerant services until it was almost forced to be sold to investors during the 1970’s Denver Urban Renewal movement. Plans were to sell the whole block for approximately $1.2 million to developers so that they could build an office building for $25-30 million unless the Church could underwrite the development.
Mt. Cavalry bought the church in 1990 for the sum of $187,000.00 and continued services for the community. The Church was eventually put up for sale around 2015, and was sold for $1 million and became the place of love and acceptance that it is today.
The group of like minded individuals who purchased the property enlisted or cajoled Kenny Scharf, a prolific artist, into changing the house of worships facade into something more suiting of multiple spiritualities. Likewise, the renowned artist Okuda San Miguel created the murals inside in his signature style which are geometric structures and has been described as pop surrealism with a clear street influence of urban art .
Denver’s culinary scene is amazingly diversified and there’s a really strong farm-to-table scene throughout the city. This means menus rotate often and our tastings change based on the seasons. You will make new friends, eat delicious food, laugh and learn as your local guide teaches you all about the Denver food scene.
Usually, after one visits the International Church of Cannabis, people ask, “How high are you?”
Of course you can always answer them with, ”One mile high!”
You don’t need to worry about a “contact” high since they installed several air purifiers throughout the building so there is absolutely no odor of marijuana present at all. The interior of the church itself is decorated in what could be Avant-Garde meets pop culture.
The basement is an area where members and visitors can relax and chat, play video or board games, and gather on numerous funky couches and chairs, one such plastic covered couch which was owned by Shaun White, aka “The Flying Tomato”. Lots of pop art adorns the walls and there are refreshments for sale (all devoid of cannabis).
Friday nights, the services include Ted Talks, comedians, and other interesting speakers. You have to be a member of the church in order to attend services where you can consume the “sacred herb”, but membership is not very strict.
The church is open to the public Friday from 1-3pm, and Saturday & Sunday from 12-5pm as long as you are 21 and up and can be seen for a $5 donation. There is no consumption allowed during these hours, but you can go and take a tour of the photogenic property and take as many pictures as you like as long as they are not commercial.
For the 420 celebration, they have mapped the amazing murals on the ceiling and will have a laser light show and guided meditation, as well as special guest Melody Monroe who’s voice and sound will compliment the experience.
Tickets are $15 and it should not be missed on a visit to Denver whether you enjoy Cannabis Culture or not.