Folk Belief

Temple 420

– Folk Belief

“I heard a couple weeks ago from a friend of mine about Temple 420.  It opened in LA I think a year ago.  Apparently some people or some religions rather… they feel that pot is actually a holy plant.  The Book of Genesis refers to a tree of life and the Book of Revelations speaks of a plant that will heal all nations.  The guy that founded Temple 420, among many others, argues that marijuana is the plant they speak of.  So now, I guess from what I hear, marijuana has become a sacrament used at church.  I think the guy was actually Jewish though, which is why he called it a temple.” (D.S.)

Informant Analysis:

“Well my friend told me that the place got busted by cops because of all the weed that was being given out.  But now hes apparently taking the LAPD to court over 30 billion dollars! Now people have been going to the church as a cheaper method of getting legal weed.  It’s a lot easier than getting your club card.  It’s cheaper too cause I heard that it only costs a hundred dollars to join.  I definitely think it’s interesting that they believe weed is holy though.  In a way, I can see why they might think it’s the plant to heal all nations.  Everyones always talking about how peaceful it makes you.  Look at all the hippies that used to smoke it and look how peace loving they were.  So I don’t know, but it’s definitely interesting to say the least!” (D.S.)

Personal Analysis:

It seems cannabis in California can now not only be purchased at medical dispensaries, but in churches as well.  This is made possible by the very foundation of America, religious freedom.  American citizens have the right to practice their religion without fear of persecution.  If cannabis is in fact considered to be a religious sacrament, then it seems legal that it would be consumed for religious purposes.

I feel this item can be classified as a folk belief.  It appears that subscribers to this religion maintain that this plant is holy.  Simultaneously, they belief that this is the plant to heal all nations is formed on popular conceptions about cannabis.  It is held by many that cannabis makes its users more peaceful, as also explained by the informant.  While this may invite discussions about belief, there is not much evidence at all to support that cannabis makes its users violent.  Thus it is certainly understandable how this folk belief may have developed.

At the same time, it is also possible that the founder of this church had a separate agenda.  He basically found a loophole which allows him to legally profit off of the selling of an illegal substance.  By merely charging a one hundred dollar fee to join the church, he has the potential to generate significant amounts of revenue.  Smokers will likely flock to this religion just in order to legally purchase marijuana.  Thus, the founder of the church will profit off of each new convert. This makes it hard to tell what his intentions and beliefs truly are.

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