Surprising Stuff

A holy smoke?
The Wisconsin Church of the Cannabis (the Rastafarian church) is located in an old storefront near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The Wisconsin Church of the Cannabis distributes marijuana as a sacrament. Most people see it as a weed, but church co-founder Jesse Schworck considers it a religious sacrament and part of the worship service at a Rastafarian church. Its members use and distribute marijuana freely. That’s really the only requirement for membership. The church doesn’t try to hide the marijuana use. It is very open about it, even smoking right in the window for anyone on the street to see. Anyone can sign a card to become a church member and walk out with marijuana.

“I stand with Rastafarian religion all the way,” a church member said. Schworck accepts donations but doesn’t require payment. “That sounds like someone that would be selling cannabis or giving it to the public — two things we don’t do,” Schworck said. But Schworck argues this is a fight for religious freedom. “It’s not even an argument. It’s just reality,” he said. Schworck said he will ask a federal court for an injunction to stop what he describes as harassment from the city of Madison.

Cartoon by Terry O’Neill

Cartoon by Terry O'Neill Lake Geneva


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