The latest session of the state legislature kicks off today, with (still) Governor Bill Ritter's state-of-the-state speech slated for tomorrow. But immediately afterward, the real fun begins.
Medical marijuana advocates plan to stage the Mile High NORML Cannabis Rally across the street from the capitol steps, with speakers slated to include some of the movement's biggest names, including attorney Rob Corry, advocate Mason Tvert and more.
But arguably the most unusual person in the spotlight will be Reverend James Marks of the THC Ministry's Boulder branch, who will bestow a blessing and prayer upon legislators who'll be making key decisions about medical marijuana. "It's going to be a beautiful event, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of people out there, and anointing a lot of people as well." He'll be using the "holy anointing oil of Christ," which, naturally, includes cannabis.
According to Marks, the recipe for the anointing oil "comes directly from the Bible," and features Myrrh, olive oil, cinnamon and cannabis -- although this last name doesn't appear in most biblical texts. "It's usually called 'fragrant cane,'" Marks explains, "and it goes by many different names, including 'sweet calamus root.' But in my office, I have an expanded version of the Hebrew bible that actually points to the hemp plant.
"It's used as a plant to heal the nations," he goes on. "I call it the botanical messiah, because it's the plant of all plants. It's been here for over 10,000 years."
Marks has spent most of the past eight years in Hawaii, where he learned the teachings of the THC Ministry there under the tutelage of Reverend Roger Christie, based in Hilo. He came to Boulder this past August and quickly gained acclaim in the marijuana community in regard to Jason Lauve, a medical marijuana patient who's now publishing Cannabis Health News Magazine. Lauve was put on trial for having "too much" of the herb in question, and as he and supporters awaited a verdict at the Boulder County Justice Center, Marks anointed him -- declaring, "May the yoke of your bondage be broken by the anointing!" An instant later, the phone rang with word that the jury had returned, and Lauve was subsequently acquitted on all counts.
"I was anointing him when the call came in," Marks recalls. "It was a beautiful deal, a miracle. Because we didn't know which way it was going to fall."
Since then, Marks has tried to build up the THC Ministry in Boulder, and while he doesn't officiate at regular services (they're staged on "an as-needed basis," he says), "we now have about eighty to a hundred members. We've had such a beautiful welcome here in Boulder."
Regarding the medical marijuana issue, Marks doesn't take a strong stand on specific issues, noting that "I look at it from the religious end." But he adds that "I haven't heard of many problems with the dispensaries," and he's all for more people getting the chance to benefit from cannabis.
He's hopeful his blessing will provide the medical marijuana biz with a prayer it certainly needs, at least from a political standpoint. Deploying his favorite adjective again, he says, "That would be a beautiful thing."