One of the founders of the International Church of Cannabis was convicted of public consumption by a Denver jury on Friday after a trial in municipal court that took four days. Steve Berke, one of three of the church’s founders that have been charged in the case, was also convicted of violating the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act by the six-person jury. Lee Molloy and Briley Hale, the other two founders of the church, are scheduled to appear in court on February 12.
All three church officials were cited at an event that was held on April 20, 2017. Announcements for the 4/20 celebration of the opening of the church had billed it as “the first large venue in the world where adults can legally consume cannabis in a social environment,” according to a report in local media. Invitations to the event were available via email.
After becoming aware of the planned celebration, the city attorney’s office sent the church a letter which said that “a belief in the benefits of marijuana does not constitute a religious belief.”
Eric Escudero of the Denver Office of Marijuana Policy said that because organizers planned to consume cannabis and anyone could get an invitation to the event, it