‘Marijuana Minister’ committed ‘crimes of compassion’Posted by On


In the summer and fall of 1996, as AIDS ravaged San Francisco’s gay community, Metropolitan Community Church-San Francisco pastor Jim Mitulski risked imprisonment, dispensing marijuana to alleviate his sick congregants’ pain before it was legal to do so. He did this in church, right after services.

“The risk was real, the spiritual intensity was real, and the tangible relief for the people who used it was real,” Mitulski recalled.

It’s LGBTQ History Month, and Out in the Bay this week presents a “Stereotypes” podcast episode about Mitulski and the queer-centered MCC-SF’s compassionate cannabis program. In the “Marijuana Minister” episode produced and hosted by Christopher Beale, Mitulski tells most of the story himself — in his own words and voice.

“We had rules: No money could be exchanged. The pot had to be donated. People had to provide a note,” said Mitulski. San Francisco officials promised not to prosecute and said they would try to protect Mitulski and MCC-SF from federal and state prosecution, but they couldn’t guarantee it.

The first Sunday, he said, news media were there and everyone was watching his sermon.

“I preached on: If you want to have an increase in your spiritual growth or spiritual life, act on your conscience,” Mitulski recalled. “I took a risk. … I acted on a belief that was motivated by my desire to provide healing and comfort … this was something I could do. And I did it. I experienced God then.”

The church distributions began after…

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In the summer and fall of 1996, as AIDS ravaged San Francisco’s gay community, Metropolitan Community Church-San Francisco pastor Jim Mitulski risked imprisonment, dispensing marijuana to alleviate his sick congregants’ pain before it was legal to do so. He did this in church, right after services.

“The risk was real, the spiritual intensity was real, and the tangible relief for the people who used it was real,” Mitulski recalled.

It’s LGBTQ History Month, and Out in the Bay this week presents a “Stereotypes” podcast episode about Mitulski and the queer-centered MCC-SF’s compassionate cannabis program. In the “Marijuana Minister” episode produced and hosted by Christopher Beale, Mitulski tells most of the story himself — in his own words and voice.

“We had rules: No money could be exchanged. The pot had to be donated. People had to provide a note,” said Mitulski. San Francisco officials promised not to prosecute and said they would try to protect Mitulski and MCC-SF from federal and state prosecution, but they couldn’t guarantee it.

The first Sunday, he said, news media were there and everyone was watching his sermon.

“I preached on: If you want to have an increase in your spiritual growth or spiritual life, act on your conscience,” Mitulski recalled. “I took a risk. … I acted on a belief that was motivated by my desire to provide healing and comfort … this was something I could do. And I did it. I experienced God then.”

The church distributions began after…



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