The last person you would expect to use cannabis would be a “person of the cloth.” However, Craig Gross isn’t a conventional Christian. Like many people who grew up during the prohibition era, he’s heard plenty of stories regarding the evils of cannabis. And in Gross’ case, he may have been taught to avoid drugs such as cannabis.
Despite that, Gross, now a Christian evangelist and entrepreneur, uses cannabis to alleviate a physical condition. Actually using marijuana after years and years of negative messaging required plenty of mental fortitude. Once Gross made the leap, the controversial plant provided effects he couldn’t have possibly foreseen.
When he first used cannabis, Gross was 36 years old. He was still reeling from his father’s passing on top of dealing with health conditions. The plant alleviated his symptoms, and surprisingly, it helped him take stock of his life and realize that he needed to slow down a bit. Now, cannabis also helps him connect with the voice he hears speaking to him when he prays.
Gross is now building a cannabis brand geared toward Christians. Called Christian Cannabis, Gross’ company will encourage Christians to use cannabis to strengthen their relationship with God. According to Christian Cannabis’ website, marijuana can help Christians “connect to God in a deep and profound way.”
The website states that cannabis can have a place in prayer and worship. It creates space, expands awareness and invites the user into a “space of unfamiliarity.” Merrimack College professor of religion Laurie Cozad says this isn’t the first time cannabis has been associated with religion. She notes that evidence shows that ancient Hebrews, Egyptians and Assyrians burnt cannabis in their shrines as incense. Sufi Muslims smoke the mind-altering substance at shrines, and it plays a major role in the Rastafari religion, with Rastafarians smoking cannabis as a sacrament and burning it in fires as an offering.
Ancient Hindu text calls cannabis a “liberator” and “source of happiness,” and holy men in religious parts of India consume cannabis at religious ceremonies and festivals. However, while the consumption and sale of cannabis are allowed in India, cannabis consumption was outlawed until states individually began allowing the mind-altering plant.
In 2006, the founder of Temple 420 Craig Rubin was arrested for selling marijuana to temple followers to help them better connect with God. He was arrested and sentenced to three years probation. To avoid this, Gross decided to go another way: forming a company and marketing cannabis to mainstream Christians to help them better connect with God.
Gross aims to have his low-THC products on Californian shelves later this year and plans on expanding to states that allow recreational use.
The spiritual angle of cannabis that this California-based pastor is emphasizing reveals how versatile the applications of the marijuana products made by legal entities such as Cannabis Strategic Ventures Inc. (OTC: NUGS) can be for different sections of the community.
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