[Ed. – Did the fact that the “leader” calls his unlicensed marijuana operation a “church” make it easier for the city to decide to raid it? California hasn’t been much in the habit of bothering illegal pot sellers in recent years. Humor bonus: the video shows there were, in fact, a couple of pews set up in the storefront space Hodges was using.]
Oakland police raided an Oakland establishment that calls itself a church, seizing drugs and money.
“They got a lot of product,” said Dave Hodges, leader of the Zide Door Church of Entheogenic Plants. “They got altogether in a range of about $200,000 worth of stuff. It was mainly mushroom and cannabis product and a little bit of cash.”
Surveillance video and photos Hodges posted on Instagram show the August 13 drug raid in progress. The video shows Oakland police officers forcing the front door open. With the help of firefighters using heavy equipment, police broke open a safe and seized valuables, drugs and cash.
Hodges insists it is a real church with more than 20,000 followers. Hodges said the cannabis and magic mushrooms are an integral part of the religious experience.
“The core concept of what we believe is our ancient ancestors came across these mushrooms and, being a hungry monkey who finds a bunch of these mushrooms, they were likely to eat a bunch of them. And, if you eat a lot of these mushrooms, you can have some very intense experiences that can only be described as spiritual visions,” Hodges said.