Our Church Holidays

Read below to learn about some holidays you could celebrate with your loved ones. Find quality time to relax and take care of each other.

January 18: Religious Freedom Day

“Faith breathes life and hope into our world. We must diligently guard, preserve, and cherish this unalienable right.”
STANDING UP FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: In his first year in office, President Trump has taken strong action to restore the foundational link between freedom and faith in the United States of America.
  • On May 4, 2017, the President signed an executive order to greatly enhance religious freedom and freedom of speech:
    • taking action to ensure that religious institutions may freely exercise their First Amendment right to support and advocate for candidates and causes in line with their values; and
    • ensuring that religious Americans and their organizations, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, would not be forced to choose between violating their religious beliefs by complying with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate or shutting their doors.
  • The President has announced a reversal of the Obama administration’s policy denying disaster aid to houses of worship, allowing houses of worship to receive crucial aid in times of crisis.
  • The Trump administration has taken a stand on behalf of religious liberty in the courts:
    • supported students declared ineligible for a scholarship because they attended a religious school;
    • supported the Archdiocese of Washington in its effort to buy ads for the holidays on public transportation; and
    • supported baker Jack Phillips’s right to operate his bakery in accordance with his religious beliefs.
  • In January 2018, the Trump administration took a stand for international religious freedom by placing Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for severe violations of religious freedom and designated 10 others as countries of particular concern.
  • The President declared January 18, 2018 to be Religious Freedom Day to “celebrate the many faiths that make up our country.”
PRIORITIZING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN THE ADMINISTRATION: President Trump has issued new policies to ensure religious freedom is a priority throughout the Federal Government.
  • In October 2017, the Department of Justice issued twenty principles of religious liberty to guide the Administration’s litigation strategy to protect religious freedom.
  • In January 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced three major policy changes to protect freedom of religion:
    • forming a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, providing HHS with the focus it needs to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom; and
    • proposing to more vigorously enforce 25 existing statutory conscience protections for Americans involved in HHS programs, protecting Americans who have religious or moral convictions related to certain health care services.
PRESERVING THE SANCTITY OF LIFE: President Trump has stopped the attack on pro-life policies, implementing policies to enshrine sanctity of life as an American value.
  • Within a week of taking office, President Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy, which protects $9 billion in foreign aid from being used to fund the global abortion industry and its advocates.
  • President Trump cut off taxpayer funding for the U.N. Population Fund.
  • President Trump signed H.J. Res. 43 into law, overturning a midnight regulation by the Obama Administration, which prohibited States from defunding certain abortion facilities in their Federally funded family planning programs.
  • President Trump expressed strong support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have stopped late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy—the point at which science tells us that an unborn child can experience pain.
  • President Trump’s Administration issued guidance to enforce the requirement that taxpayer dollars not support abortion coverage in Obamacare exchange plans.
  • President Trump rescinded an Obama-era policy that hindered States in their efforts to direct Medicaid funding away from abortion facilities that violate the law or fail to meet relevant standards of care.
BRINGING RELIGIOUS GROUPS BACK INTO THE FOLD: President Trump has made a consistent effort to reach out to religious groups and partners to bring them back into the policy making process.

February 1: CBD Day

February 1st should serve as a celebration of cannabidiol, the cannabinoid also known as CBD. CBD holds great promise for advancing cannabis as medicine. Specially bred strains with a CBD:THC ratio of 2:1 or higher are sought after for their medicinal properties, with some strains reaching upwards of 25:1. To appropriately pay tribute to the benefits of CBD, we’d recommend vaporizing high-CBD strains like ACDC or Harlequin. Afterwards, spend your day resting, relaxing, and focusing on personal wellness through meditation, yoga, and other restorative activities.

April 11: Good People Doing Good Things Day

On this day, we celebrate the triumphs of Good People Who Are Doing Good Things.

Joe Redner

First up, the judicial ruling in favor of Joe Redner, the Tampa strip club owner who is challenged the state in court, saying he has the right to grow marijuana for medical purposes in his back yard.

Background: A court ruled Wednesday that Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner can grow his own marijuana for medical purposes, a decision that lawyers say could lead to a wave of similar cases. The ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers applies only to Redner, 77. The Florida Department of Health responded quickly, filing an appeal.

The department had said Floridians are barred under state rules from growing cannabis for their personal use, including those who are legally registered as medical marijuana patients. But Redner and other critics across the state say the health department continues to create barriers for more than 95,000 registered patients in Florida that could benefit from marijuana. Redner is a stage 4 lung cancer survivor and a registered medical marijuana patient.

“Under Florida law, Plantiff Redner is entitled to possess, grow and use marijuana for juicing, soley for the purpose of his emulsifying the biomass he needs for the juicing protocol recommended by his physician,” Gievers said in her ruling. The word “solely” is bolded and underlined for emphasis in the document. “The court also finds … that the Florida Department of Health has been, and continues to be non-compliant with the Florida constitutional requirements,” the judge added, referring to the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2016 that made medical marijuana legal.

Redner’s attorney, Luke Lirot of Clearwater, said the judge was right to “castigate the health department for being a barrier to medicine.” While the ruling affects only Redner, Lirot says his case “does provide a usable approach for other people whose doctors will certify that this is of value.”

In the meantime, the state’s appeal will block Redner from growing his own marijuana right away. Lirot said his first order of business will be to try to lift the stay that prevents Redner from growing and juicing marijuana during the appeals process, which likely won’t begin until late this year or early next year.

“The appellate process takes a long time, and in this case, it’s going to affect Redner’s life exclusively,” said Jay Wolfson, a professor at Stetson University College of Law and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. “Because this issue is big enough, no matter who loses in appeals, the case will go on the state supreme court after this. You can bet on that.”

In January, Gievers denied a motion by the Florida Department of Health to dismiss Redner’s case. The judge also denied Redner’s motion for an emergency temporary injunction, which would have allowed him to grow marijuana plants during the court process. But she described Redner’s plea in the case as “constitutional in nature,” which allowed it to move forward. In her ruling, Gievers says the health department “has still not complied with the Constitution,” and until it stops “violating its constitutional duty and mandated presumptive regulation, the evidence clearly demonstrates that Redner is entitled to follow the recommendations of his certified physician under Florida law.”

“The Legislature failed to act and that has a lot of consequences. This case is one of them,” said Leslie Sammis, a Tampa-based defense attorney who is also a member of the The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws legal committee. “I think that the state and the health department should focus their energy on coming into compliance with this court order instead of stalling until it’s forced upon them by the courts.”

During a short, non-jury trial in March, attorneys representing the health department warned that Redner’s case could open the door to more lawsuits over the constitutional amendment’s language. Several lawsuits already have been filed against the department, but none other than Redner’s has specifically challenged the state agency’s interpretation of the amendment’s language.

“It is my understanding that the health department is facing many pending lawsuits,” Wolfson said. “It’s a legal quagmire.” Redner says this means other patients should be able to challenge to possess their own plants, too.

“With this order, (patients) can go to their doctor now, and as long as they have a good enough reason to need to possess a plant, be it because they can’t afford the medicine at the dispensaries, as long as they have a recommendation anyone should be allowed to grow,” Redner said. “The cat is out of the bag. There’s no way to stop this now.”

Originally authored by Justine Griffin at jgriffin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Cathy Jordan

Originally posted in the Herald Tribune by Zac Anderson

Her confidence and persistence are big reasons patients can now smoke cannabis. Cathy Jordan had just finished dinner and was sitting in her Parrish home one evening last week when her attorney called.

“He said: ‘Well, Cathy, the governor signed the bill. We won,’” Jordan said as she recounted how she learned that smoking medical marijuana was legal in Florida. After 22 years as one of the leading advocates for medical marijuana in Florida, Jordan finally could claim victory. She never doubted the day would come.
“I always knew we were going to win,” she said.

Jordan’s confidence in the righteousness of her cause, and her persistence, are big reasons why Floridians across the state are now able to smoke medical marijuana. She has long been the face of sick Floridians seeking to use marijuana as a medical treatment. Sitting in a wheelchair at her kitchen table recently, Jordan relived her long fight, recounting old battles and relishing the final triumph that legalized her daily smoking ritual. Medical marijuana has become her life’s work. It all stemmed from what seemed like a death sentence.
Diagnosed in her 30s with a disease that typically kills people within a few years, Jordan is now 69 and has been smoking marijuana for decades to alleviate the symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She believes the drug has helped keep her alive, and that consuming it in a smokable form also is beneficial.

So after Florida voters legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and GOP lawmakers subsequently outlawed smoking the drug, Jordan went to court to overturn the smoking ban and won. The state appealed. The appeal was pending when Ron DeSantis became governor. DeSantis agreed with Jordan and other prominent medical marijuana backers, such as Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, that voters intended to legalize medical marijuana in a smokable form. He threatened to drop the state’s appeal unless lawmakers acted.

The GOP-led Legislature responded by passing a bill this month that makes it legal for adults and terminally ill children who have a doctor’s approval to smoke medical marijuana. DeSantis signed the bill last week and dropped the state’s appeal of Jordan’s lawsuit.

The victory came 22 years after Jordan spoke at a Hemp Fest event organized by the Florida Cannabis Action Network in Tampa. Jordan already had been smoking marijuana for years when she appeared at the FCAN event in 1997. She contemplated suicide after her ALS diagnosis but marijuana helped her feel better, especially the “Myakka Gold” strain that Manatee County once was famous for. Jordan and her husband, Bob, eventually moved from Delaware to Florida, purchasing their current home in Parrish in 1993. Jordan began to worry that her husband and son would get in trouble for illegally procuring marijuana for her. She set about to change the law.

After appearing at the FCAN event, Jordan became a fervent supporter of the group and eventually took over as president. She spent years seeking to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, either through the Legislature or a ballot initiative. A 1998 article in the Bradenton Herald pictured Jordan with her husband, son and daughter-in-law on the Palma Sola Causeway in Bradenton, sitting in a wheelchair next to a sign emblazoned with a pot leaf, as they worked to gather signatures for a medical marijuana ballot initiative. Jordan began traveling to the state capital with FCAN to lobby lawmakers on medical marijuana. The FCAN activists used to stand outside the capital and shout into bullhorns. Lawmakers largely ignored them.

“They wouldn’t even talk to us,” Bob Jordan told the Herald-Tribune in 2013.

But attitudes began to change. By 2013 a medical marijuana bill had been introduced in the Legislature for four years in a row. The 2013 bill was named the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act. Jordan appeared at a news conference in the capital to tout the legislation. She wore a marijuana leaf pin on her lapel and had two tins for medical marijuana on her lap.

“Just open your minds a little bit,” Jordan said then. Most lawmakers still refused to listen, and the bill went nowhere. But that same year, medical marijuana activists began ramping up efforts to put a constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot. The Jordans had spent decades gathering signatures for various medical marijuana ballot initiative. None were successful until John Morgan began putting his millions behind the effort. A 2014 ballot measure failed, but Morgan redoubled his efforts in 2016 and the initiative won approval from 71.3 percent of voters. Morgan cited Cathy Jordan in 2017 when he announced that he’d be suing to overturn the ban imposed by the Legislature on selling whole flower smokable medical marijuana.

“Cathy Jordan got me involved in all this,” Morgan said. “Cathy Jordan needs smoked (marijuana) to get her best results,” Morgan added. “Why did I come here to do this? Because there’s Cathy Jordans out there.”

Jordan has been an inspiration to many others. Greg Gerdeman calls her “the patron saint of Florida cannabis.” Gerdeman is a former Eckerd College biology professor who has studied the medical benefits of cannabis is now in the medical marijuana business. He appeared on a panel with the Jordans to debate the 2016 medical marijuana initiative and has been friends with them ever since. “I have been proud to support her as someone who is so brave and someone who has defied all normal prognosis for her disease by using cannabis as medicine,” he said.

Gerdeman now works as chief scientific officer for 3 Boys Farm in Ruskin, which hopes to market a strain of whole flower cannabis developed by the Jordans. It will be called “Cathy’s Choice.” Long before medical marijuana was legal, Cathy Jordan’s husband was growing it in the backyard of their Parrish home. He developed a strain that works well for Jordan’s condition. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office raided the Jordans’ property in 2013 and confiscated about two dozen plants. But prosecutors declined to file charges, agreeing that Cathy Jordan had a medical necessity.

Jordan still smokes marijuana every day and has many options for obtaining the drug, which is now legal in a number of states. Florida was slow to join the movement, but Jordan never stopped fighting and soon her family will be able to buy her medicine close to home. Lawmakers eventually had to succumb to public opinion, Jordan said.

“Florida is a large state, ever changing, and there were just a few sticks in the mud who don’t want change,” she said. With ALS, patients lose the ability to control their muscle movement and most eventually become fully incapacitated. Jordan can’t walk and has long used a wheelchair. The muscles in her throat have atrophied and her speech can be difficult to understand, but anyone who listens closely can still make out what she’s saying.
Cathy’s miracle Jordan’s facial expressions also say a lot. She smiles as she recounts the old battles and talks about new ones to come. “I’m so glad the legislators are waking up,” she said.

Jordan’s home is a shrine to the family’s medical marijuana advocacy, which both her son and husband also are immersed in. A large sculpture of a marijuana leaf is attached to the wall above her couch. Jordan’s refrigerator is adorned with small fabric art pieces made by a woman with multiple sclerosis. They include an image of a marijuana leaf. One says “Cathy’s Miracle.” A poster on Jordan’s wall lists the medicinal benefits of marijuana. A glass case has family memorabilia, including the award Jordan received from the marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. Jordan received the group’s 2012 “courage award.” She also has been featured on the cover of the Medical Cannabis Journal. She is proud of this work, but also ready to slow down. Recently Jordan traveled to Tallahassee to testify in the appeals court case on smokable medical marijuana. She used to make the trip regularly, but now says “I can’t stand the thought of traveling up there.”
John Jordan, Cathy’s son, also is ready to move on from constant advocacy.

“I’m just glad it’s over with,” he said. “We don’t have to go up there and mess with those crooked-ass people anymore.”

Age and illness may have slowed Cathy Jordan down somewhat, but she may have a few more fights left in her. She talks about wanting to end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana. She wants the drug to be available to U.S. service members. But she hopes her advocacy can be “right here from my house.”

Half of a marijuana joint sits in an ashtray on her kitchen table, leftover from her morning ritual. For a long time Jordan was just fighting to make sure she could wake up every morning and have access to a drug that she believes helps her and many others. Jordan defied the odds and lived long enough to see victory. More struggles remain though.

“Who knows,” she says. “The next 20 years might be the end of the drug war.”

April 20: 4/20 Holiday and Our Church's Birthday

On this day we join our friends worldwide in celebrating the free cultivation and use of cannabis and cannabis-related products as well as out church’s birthday! We were founded on April 20, 2015.

A lot of research and time went into the starting of our church. Our founder Sister Smith stumbled across a news interview that featured a church in California and they had their services at home. She liked the idea of that kind of service, in which friends or members gather at different times, including 4:20, to share our holy plant, give thanks for the good things in life, and discuss how we can help our world be a better place for everyone and everything. Peace, Love, and Good People doing Good things = Happiness 🙂 

December 20: Hemp Legalization Day

On this day, we celebrate the historical moment on December 20 of 2018 when the Farm Bill was passed and hemp became federally legal in the United States.

Background: President Trump legalized the cultivation of industrial hemp Thursday December 20th 2018 when he signed a widespread, bipartisan farm bill aimed at boosting the agriculture industry. The fiber of hemp, a non-intoxicating derivative of the cannabis plant, is used to make a variety of products, such as cardboard, carpets, clothes, paper and more.

Hemp production and sales have historically been illegal under the same federal prohibition against marijuana. The farm bill only deals with industrial hemp and does not address recreational or medical marijuana. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) worked with Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to introduce a bill to legalize hemp, which was ultimately included in the farm bill.

“I used my very own hemp pen to sign the conference report, clearing the way for the House and Senate to pass legislation and send it to the president’s desk. I’m proud that the bill includes my provision to legalize the production of industrial hemp. It’s a victory for farmers and consumers throughout our country,” McConnell said when the Senate advanced the farm bill earlier this month.

The farm bill helps removes obstacles farmers face in growing hemp, including restricted access to banking, water rights and crop insurance. Hemp is easier to grow than cotton, corn or soybeans as it requires little water and can be viable in lower-quality soil that is not practical for other crops.
The hemp provision is just one of several aspects of the farm bill meant to aid farmers as exports of agricultural products such as soybeans take a hit as Trump engages in a bitter trade war with China and other countries.

December 26: Our Day of Rest and Thankfulness

On this day we celebrate the opening of our Thankful Jars.

Background: We fill our thankful jar during the year with things that we are thankful for and make us happy. Not for gifts of objects but the gift we get from family time the happiness of helping people in need and or getting help or support when you need it, like a simple ride to the store or help with washing a friends dog or paying it forward when you get some pizza buy a slice for someone who might not have eaten that day. Good Karma and Positive Thanking and doing what what our church is about. Peace Love and Kindness = Happiness 🙂

How to make a Thankful jar:

  • Step 1: Get a jar or any sort of container you like
  • Step 2: Get a scratch pad of paper
  • Step 3: Get a pen or pencil
  • Step 4: Write down any good thing that happens to you, big or small, on a slip of the paper and place in jar.
  • Step 5: Read all of them on next New Year’s Eve or Day and enjoy all the good things that happened in the previous year again!

Now how simple is that? Get the entire family involved too – kids and adults. There is no rule on the kind of paper or if it is written or drawn. Whatever works for your family members. You can even put in tickets stubs for movies or other ephemera that is a good thing.

If you are crafty, of course you can decorate your jar any way you like. You can even use a shoe box and cover it with pretty paper. Or let the kids make and decorate the container. Again, it is whatever works for your family.

At the end of the year you will have an entire jar filled with snippets of your year and the good things that happened. It is a wonderful way to see what was important to you and your family and to relive happy memories. Once the year is over, start up again for the following year!

June 18th: Jack Herer’s Birthday

In commemoration for all of the energy and effort put in by cannabis activists throughout the decades, we propose observing the birthday of Jack Herer. Affectionately named “The Hemperor,” Jack was a devoted marijuana activist and author. He fought tirelessly to emphasize cannabis as one of our most valuable resources and reinforce the ways in which our earth and society can benefit from hemp. To honor Jack and all of the others who have pushed the plant forward, we suggest smoking some Jack Herer, the sativa-dominant strain bred by Sensi Seed and named for the man himself.

July 10th: Oils and Concentrates Day

Everybody knows about 420 but in recent years concentrates, cartridges, and dabs have taken center stage. “OIL” flipped upside-down reads “710,” so July 10th is quickly becoming the connoisseur’s ceremony to honor oil. The day is a great excuse to dab your favorite concentrates with your friends, but it’s also an opportunity to commemorate the advancements in hash making technologies that modern cannabis laws are encouraging.

October 5th: Commemorating the Victims of Prohibition

On October 2nd, 1937, the United States enacted the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act which effectively outlawed cannabis. Three days later, on October 5th, the FBI and the Denver police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell and Moses Baca. Caldwell and Bacca are recognized as the first citizens convicted of selling and possessing cannabis. Both men served the entirety of their sentences, with Caldwell dying shortly after his release from four years of hard labor. In respect to those who have risked their freedoms fighting for the personal right to grow and consume cannabis, we should all roll one up to remember the lives and families distressed by prohibition.

November 6th: Legalization Day

Without a doubt we should be celebrating the momentous first doors that opened for legal, adult access to cannabis in the United States. On November 6th, 2012, Colorado and Washington both passed recreational cannabis laws establishing and recognizing cannabis as a regulated industry in America that has gone on to spark an international debate on drug reform. To memorialize the shift towards legitimizing marijuana, 11/6 should be celebrated by visiting your local dispensary or traveling to a state with legal access in an effort to support the businesses that help us enjoy our right to consume cannabis.

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