Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Interview With Amsterdam’s Premier Cannabis Minister

ShoutWire: So, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Reverand Ferre: Well, I like to read, research history, play a little bass guitar, do some web mastering and I reside in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

SW: What exactly is the THC ministry and how did you get involved with it?

Rev Ferre: The THC Ministry is a religion based on ancient wisdom, modern science and the enlightening and healing properties of cannabis sacrament. It is our opinion that cannabis is the original sacrament of Hebrew, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Shinto, Buddhist, Rasta and more. It was founded in the year 2000 by my dear friend and fellow minister Roger Christie in Hawai'i.
I see the THC Ministry as kind of a modern version of the ancient shamanic religions and practices, respect for nature and the healing properties of plants and spiritual properties of plants. Cannabis has been used for centuries by highly respected healers and priests on most continents and I believe it's about time to restore the respect that the world's political leaders have for a lifestyle and practice that has been part of humanity for thousands of years. I got involved after Roger had shown me that by international law everyone on this planet has the right to use Cannabis for religious reasons and I believe that the millions of people who are now letting themselves be oppressed by their governments because they don't know about this should get this information and protect themselves with a solid legal motivation. I believe that ALL Cannabis use is spiritual, 'being stoned' is just a way to describe a feeling that can easily be described as a divine experience; cannabis makes you feel more 'in touch' with nature, colors, sounds, your inner self and even other people and that is a spiritual experience that is not covered with the words 'being stoned'.

SW: Tell us a little bit about how the ministry works.

Rev Ferre: THC Ministry provides a few services to its members. There are the Global Community Forums online where members can communicate with others, ask questions, plan events, meet others in the same area, etc. The biggest part of these forums are not public and contain sections with tutorials, legal issues, clergy issues etc.
Gatherings are being held in various THC Ministries, summer events for members organized by members, some members made a canoe trip last summer and there are plans in the making for THC Ministry communities, a few members have already purchased land in one of the US states for this purpose.
THC Ministry provides legal documents and members ID cards, meditation courses and historical and scientific information on Cannabis and Hemp and its uses. And of course, THC Ministry provides the possibility to become members online, for free. However, to receive the legal documents and ID we ask for a donation to our Main office in Hawai'i, these donations are needed to keep THC ministry online and for various other costs.

SW: Are there any special requirements to be a member?

Rev Ferre: Yes there are and it is very important to know in order to be 'legal' as a religious practitioner of Cannabis/Hemp. On the global members registry form, it states;

By joining THC Ministry you declare that:

- You are, or want to be, a sincere religious practitioner of cannabis.
- You will take the simple steps to develop your 'legitimacy'.
- It is mandatory for your spiritual practice to cultivate and use small, personal amounts of cannabis, in private - at home or church.
- You are minimum 21 years old. (Or legally adult in your country)

It is important to know that to legally 'handle' Cannabis, which is a controlled substance in many countries; one must have the right credentials to do so. A Minister of a religion that mandates Cannabis has, by international law, the right credentials and THC Ministry members need to be ordained ministers at the ULC as a second step in the process of becoming a legitimate Cannabis Sacrament Minister.

SW: How big is the ministry?

Rev Ferre: At present times there are THC Ministries in different US sates, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, France, Spain, Poland and the past months we have received requests from Brazil, Japan and India to open affiliates there are thousands of members in more than 40 other countries.

SW: You live in a country that is tolerant of marijuana usage, so you really don’t need any protection from the law. What keeps you motivated to keep the ministry going?

Rev Ferre: What keeps me motivated is he fact that I truly believe that Hemp is one of the greatest resources that we have on our planet, it is an environmental friendly and natural alternative for plastics, oils, fuels, (some) medicines, clothes and our world should become aware of their natural roots again, and humanity is not served with the current prohibition laws regarding our cultural, and natural heritage. Those prohibition laws prohibit the people on this earth to live a natural lifestyle and as well as humans know about food for their body to provide them minerals and calories, we humans have, since ancient times, known and consumed food for our brains and this food is called 'entheogens' but are prohibited since only a very short time in our history, in fact, they have only been prohibited when the industrial industries came to become a political power on the background everywhere on earth. With the industrial revolution came the oppression and even prohibition of the old, more natural lifestyle that people used to have. If I can do only the slightest thing to help to change this I will, that's what keeps me motivated.

SW: 100 years from now, how do you want history to view the Ministry?

Rev Ferre: My wish is that 100 years from now there will be a Cannabis Ministry in every city in the world.

SW: What are your plans for the future of the Ministry?

Rev Ferre: I have no personal plans for the future of the ministry, I'm only a small part of it and it already has become an institution and all I plan is to continue building what I have started here in Amsterdam. Because Amsterdam is visited by many thousands of members every year I'm currently looking for a suitable building in the center to open an Amsterdam Cannabis Ministry that will be a gathering place, temple, meeting point and chill out for those visiting members. When we first started the Cannabis Ministry Amsterdam it was on a houseboat and former coffee shop but the boat was in a very bad condition and had to be brought to a ship scrap yard, since then I'm looking for a new location.

SW: If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?

Rev Ferre: Stop arguing and declare peace on all wars.

SW: And for the final question, the cookie monster is chasing you down a narrow hallway. It’s dark, late, and there are two doors at the end of the hallway. The men’s bathroom is out of order, but the women’s bathroom is working. You hear women talking on the inside. Do you break down and give the monster your cookies or break into the women’s bathroom and make a scene in hopes the cookie guy will get one of the chicks instead?

Rev Ferre: Halfway down that narrow hallway the cookie monster will notice that I don't have any cookies and he will just turn around and leave.

SW: Great answers ... not all of us carry cookies around. Thank you for your time.
Click Here to join the ministry or find out more.


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