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Taking the message of marijuana to church

Westside Universal Unitarian - Shaun McAlister
Shaun McAlister, from DFW NORML speaks to members of the Westside Universal Unitarian church in Fort Worth about marijuana.


If you’ve never heard the topic of marijuana discussed at church before, chances are you could be hearing about it soon.

Marijuana is being talked about all around the country. With 23 states having legalized medical marijuana plus Washington, D.C., and four outright legalizing it for recreational consumption, it’s a subject whose time has seemingly come.

Shaun McAlister never thought he would be invited to speak at a local church in Fort Worth, Texas about marijuana, but when he got a call requesting him to do just that, he felt things had come full circle.

The first meeting he presided over as executive director for the non-profit marijuana advocacy group DFW NORML, was held at a church. Now he has headed back to preach the good word about cannabis.

Not really knowing what to expect, McAlister arrived early that Sunday morning prepared to give the congregation as much information as he could.

Members of the Westside Universal Unitarian church at the adult forum mostly consisted of people age 40 to 60, with a few in their 30’s present as well. “It was like starting from step one,” McAlister stated, saying that most had basic knowledge about marijuana, though many researched the topic beforehand and posed several well thought out questions.

Everyone in the audience was genuinely interested in learning as he told them about vaporizing, which heats the plant enough to create a vapor, but does not actually burn the marijuana, creating a much healthier way to consume it. He also spoke of cooking with it, and consuming tinctures as well.

Of the two dozen people there, many were seniors who showed a strong interest in offsetting some of their prescription pills by consuming cannabis once they found out that marijuana does not have to be smoked. Cannabis has been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which works exceptionally well for arthritis, among other medical issues.

Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018
Texas Marijuana Policy Advocacy Workshops — January 2018

One of the major questions asked was why efforts were focused on passing medical marijuana legislation right now.

“Patients really need access to medical marijuana, and that’s where our focus is, getting them the medicine they need to improve the quality of their life,” McAlister told the group.

A medical marijuana bill is set to be introduced in the Texas legislature in March.

After wrapping things up, about a dozen people personally thanked him for coming and speaking.

He believes that this is just the first of many speaking engagements at churches and community organizations. McAlister already does some traveling around the state to talk about public speaking, and often the topic of marijuana makes its way into the conversation.

McAlister says that he’ll be reaching out, and hopes that churches and community groups around Texas ask activists to come speak about marijuana to their members.

Seeing cannabis activists at church tends to hit home for many Texans, helping make the topic less taboo.

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Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter is a journalist and information technology specialist living in Waco, Texas. He has been working with the cannabis movement since 2009. He founded Texas Cannabis Report in 2013 to bring Texans accurate cannabis related news.

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