The Westboro Baptist Church protests Marisol Therapeutics, a marijuana shop in Pueblo, Colo. (

Westboro Baptist Church protested Colo. pot, but they were outnumbered

The Westboro Baptist Church picketed at two southern Colorado pot shops on Monday, and the controversial group’s envoy of seven people was outnumbered at each of their stops by counter-protesters rallying against the group’s anti-gay, anti-marijuana stances.

As we reported last week, the group planned the protest in Pueblo around the idea that, “GOD HATES SAME-SEX PIMPING, POT-SMOKING, FILTHY COLORADO PERVS!”

But the scene outside Marisol Therapeutics was quiet at first, according to Chelsey Joseph, a marijuana advocate who handles training and compliance at Denver Relief Consulting and drove three hours in the snow to show her support for the pot shops.

“At first we weren’t sure they were going to follow through with it,” Joseph told The Cannabist. “But then they showed up, and there were probably three times as many people in support of cannabis as there were protesters. When I saw all of them get out of the car, most of them were children 15 years and younger — plus two or three adults. It was startling to see these children holding signs that say ‘God hates fags’ and something else that was pretty vulgar.”

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The Pueblo police handled the two factions with kindness, Joseph said, and her fellow counter-protesters had fun with the subject matter, handing out fake, oversized joints and paper-cut pot leaves. No local protesters joined the church’s collective, and Joseph’s boss Kayvan Khalatbari even donned his “Chickenlooper” outfit for the protest.

The church didn’t make its second scheduled stop at Pueblo West Organics, another pot shop a few minutes away from Marisol, Joseph said.

“We got there and 20 of the 30 cannabis supporters (from Marisol) came to the second location and we were ready outside, but (Westboro) never showed up. They had police escorts, a police car in front and in back escorting them out of the (Marisol) parking lot, but they must have decided to not show up. I’m not sure if that was because it was cold or because they were not getting anywhere.”

According to The Pueblo Chieftain’s story:

If it was a numbers game, the counter-protests against the Westboro Baptist Church on Monday won the day easily.

But for the seven people quietly carrying the church’s usual provocative placards raging against homosexuality, Pueblo’s issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples and, to a slightly lesser degree, its acceptance of recreational marijuana is just another sign of the end times.

“We’re here to warn the community to either repent or go to hell for its sin. This county has turned itself over to the (expletive) agenda,” said Betty Phelps, daughter-in-law of the group’s now-deceased patriarch, Fred Phelps.

Many of the counter-protesters weren’t there to take the church seriously, Denver Relief Consulting’s Joseph said, rather they were supporting the pot shops.

“I don’t know that the mass majority takes (Westboro Baptist Church) too seriously,” she said, “but for me it was important to be there — not as a practical protest, because it’s hard to take them seriously, but to show support to the dispensary owners. And they were glad we were there – they were thankful.”

The church group live-tweeted some of their Colorado protests with this warning: “In true love we warn you: STOP loving that which God hates!”