Nederland Cannabis Sanctuary Ordinance

Protecting therapeutic and spiritual users of cannabis.


Nederland citizens file first cannabis sanctuary ordinance

A group of Nederland, Colo. citizens, who are all members of the Closer to the Heart Cannabis Ministry, filed a citizen’s ballot initiative to put an ordinance on the ballot to make the Town of Nederland the first official “cannabis sanctuary” in the U.S., and perhaps the world.


The citizens need to collect about 80 signatures of Nederland registered voters to have the ordinance appear on the November 3, 2015 election ballot.

Colorado pot campaigner seeks ‘sanctuary’ status for mountain town Reuters, March 25, 2015

(Reuters) – Surrounded by tie-dyed T-shirts and marijuana pipes at her gift shop in the Colorado mountain town of Nederland, veteran pot activist Kathleen Chippi seems an unlikely candidate to have voted no when the state legalized recreational weed in 2012.

She says the measure was “fake” legalization because marijuana remains prohibited by federal law, and users, including medicinal pot patients and their caregiver, still risk having their lives ruined by prosecution and jail time. Read more.

If approved by voters, the ordinance states that the Town of Nederland cannot spend any money to enforce any laws applicable to cannabis, as long as the cannabis is for spiritual or medical use and the act related to cannabis use does not cause any harm to another person or property. In Nederland, 73% of voters voted for Amendment 64 in 2012, so there is a large support for cannabis legalization in town.

The ordinance is modeled after the sanctuary city laws passed in the 1980s that were designed to help protect Central American refugees who had entered the U.S. illegally, seeking refuge from U.S.-sponsored covert wars that had destroyed their home countries. To help protect these refugees, over 500 religious congregations across the U.S. declared themselves sanctuaries to these illegal immigrants, where federal immigration law could not be applied. This church movement gave rise to many sanctuary city ordinances, where localities passed laws or policies declaring that no funds or resources could be used to enforce federal immigration laws.

Closer to the Heart Ministry sees the idea of a sanctuary ordinance as another way to protect cannabis users in Nederland.

“We are forced to put this ordinance on the ballot, because, contrary to popular perception, cannabis has not been legalized in Colorado,” says Chippi, founder of the Ministry. “Not a single marijuana crime was removed from the Colorado Revised Statutes by Amendment 64. People are still being prosecuted. We went from 3 pages of cannabis law in Colorado to over 600 pages of cannabis law, and high courts have ruled that cannabis remains illegal. This is not legalization. You can still lose custody of your children, still lose your employment, still lose your right to own a firearm, still lose your occupational license, still lose your housing, your health insurance and your veteran’s benefits. You can still have all your assets seized by the feds. You can lose the ability to get an organ transplant, and, of course, you can still lose your freedom.”

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Closer to the Heart Ministry is a church that believes cannabis use is a sacrament.The Ministry follows the teachings of the Bible, where cannabis is mentioned repeatedly as “sweet calamus”, “fragrant cane” or “kaneh bosm”. Of particular importance to the Ministry is the recipe that God gave to Moses to make holy anointing oil, which contained cannabis. (Exodus 30:22-33)

Chippi founded Closer to the Heart Ministry in 2010. She has retail boutique called One Brown Mouse, located at 95 East First Street in Nedlerand. Closer to the Heart Ministry holds fellowship meets at the shop, and people to gather to become educated about the many uses of cannabis. Chippi is acting as the spokesperson and official representative for the two local residents who are proponents of the initiative, Robert Howard and Marisa Gaia Moffett.

“It’s a healing plant, which can solve so many of humanity’s problems,” says Chippi. “I truly believe it is the Tree of Life mentioned in the Bible, which is to be used for the ‘healing of the nations’.”

Closer to the Heart Ministry does not sell or provide marijuana to members. Most members are patients under the Colorado’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment and cultivate their own cannabis for both medicinal and spiritual use.

“The sanctuary ordinance represents a step towards true legalization, not the fake feel-good ‘legalization’ that has been promoted by the media and drug policy ‘reform’ groups like MPP, NORML, Senisble, SAFER, ASA and DPA,” says Chippi. “This cannabis sanctuary ordinance prevents money from being used to persecute people. It is another way of having citizens send a message to the government that we are sick of the harm and waste of resources caused by the War on Cannabis Users.”



Boulder Daily Camera, June 24, 2010
“Cannabis Ministry seeks Boulder County disciples: Activists hope religious protections will apply to non-medical pot use”

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