Pot pastor refuses to tear down Church of the Holy Smoke tents in White Rock, B.C.
Robin Douglas says up to 10 people attend his cannabis-centred services
The self-proclaimed pastor of the Church of the Holy Smoke in White Rock, B.C., is refusing to tear down the tents where he conducts cannabis-centred services.
The City of White Rock ordered the tents, erected in the backyard of a beachfront property in the city, to be removed citing bylaw contraventions, but Robin Douglas says that's just a smokescreen.
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"The only thing that the city is getting mad about is that we're a religious organization that uses cannabis as a sacrament and they want us gone," he told CBC News.
Douglas — who also uses a YouTube channel to explore his religious views — says that he often provides pot to church members for free.
"I give that away all the time at no charge to anybody," he said. "If they can't afford it, then it's free and I want people to be healthy and happy. I don't want them to be broke and sad."
Douglas says he founded the church two years ago. He erected the tents five months ago, and up to 10 people usually attend services.
'We're not hippies'
"If we want to get into a deep discussion about theology we usually inhale the product through pipes or marijuana cigarettes," he said.
"We believe in Mother Earth, but we also respect the rights of others to believe what they want and everybody's welcome here," he said.
"We're not here to just smoke dope and be hippies and live on the beach. That's not what we're about at all."
He says he is talking to lawyers in order to fight the city order, and has plans to expand the church — which he says has 600 members — across Canada.
Douglas is hoping people will support the church with donations — "either cannabis or funds to help us."
With files from Chad Pawson