First Church of Cannabis
We are a church of love, says Grand Poobah Bill LevinFirst Church of Cannabis/Facebook

The federal government's decision granting tax-exempt status to an unusual Indiana church was a big hit with parishioners. They plan to light up to celebrate during the next congregational meeting of the First Church of Cannabis.

Services will get rolling when Indiana's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act comes into effect on 1 July. Besides winning tax-exempt status from the IRS, the church has already been recognized by the state of Indiana.

Self-proclaimed church "Grand Poobah and Minister of Love" Bill Levin credited conservative GOP Indiana governor Mike Pence as the "divine inspiration" for church, reports Mashable. Pence considers smoking marijuana a crime and has opposed reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

The Grand Poobah aims to use $11,000 (£7,200) raised in an online GoFundMe campaign to find a building for the church, rather than just rely on a state of mind. It remains to be seen what authorities will actually do when parishioners practice their religion. It's illegal to possess pot in the state, but cannabis be-leafers are hoping they'll be protected by the Religious Freedom law.

"If the past is any guide to experience," they're not going to "get very far," University of Indian law Professor Robert Katz tells the Indianapolis Star. "That's mainly because these people, while they are nice and delightful, are from a legal perspective that I think most judges would see as goofballs."