If neighbors were already concerned about traffic, noise and an influx of visitors to their West Washington Park neighborhood, this news won't make them any happier: The International Church of Cannabis has announced that it will start hosting weddings for fellow Elevationists.
In the three weeks since the church opened its doors at 400 South Logan Street on April 20, offering cannabis-friendly entertainment and services, it's acquired more than 800 members — and many have asked about getting married at the church.
Now they can, for a fee of $4,200. But for the first couple to use the church to tie the knot, church founder Steve Berke will waive the fee, as a gift to the soon-to-be newlyweds. "We are thrilled to be part of one beautiful couple's love story," Berke said in announcing the offer. "This church is the first in the world where adults can legally partake of their nuptials while consuming cannabis with their family and friends."
"We thought there would be interest from people wanting to get married at the church, but we never expected such a response," added Lee Molloy, a spokesperson for the church. "The demand from couples interested in celebrating their wedding with us in a 'cannabis-friendly' environment has been far greater than ever expected."
The market for cannabis-friendly weddings is definitely growing. In February, Bec Koop brought the Cannabis Wedding Expo to town, giving brides and grooms the opportunity to explore marijuana products and learn how to tastefully incorporate cannabis into their special day. Koop's company, Irie Weddings and Events, helped more than a dozen couples with their cannabis weddings last year, and have more in the works for 2017.
Some neighbors don't love having the International Church of Cannabis in their midst (and, in fact, they'll discuss it at a neighborhood meeting to talk about the church on Saturday, May 13).
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"This is a progressive community," Sheliah Reynolds said at a neighborhood meeting. "Colorado has been a leader in terms of consumption, but what our concerns are is advertising our neighborhood as an international destination for pot worshipers. That, to me, is not okay."
According to Gavin Carney, another neighbor, parking is already an issue in the family-friendly neighborhood. "We're concerned about that level of crowding.... The neighborhood is not a tourist destination," he says. "It's not consistent with the intent of the zoning laws."
But marriage ceremonies are definitely consistent with the services of a church, and this building has hosted assorted congregations for more than a century. There's space where the bridal party can get ready, a garden outside, and the Fellowship Lounge is available for a reception. And in the sanctuary, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling murals, guests will be able to light up during the ceremony.
For more information on getting married at the International Church of Cannabis, go to the Elevationists website.