Legalized Marijuana and Christians
Should Christians “Get High” For Fun?
Wow. Such a huge question!
I believe in circumstances that warrant the use of drugs for medicinal purposes. I no longer use drugs, but I was a massive fan of Demoral while passing my first kidney stone.
I spent many years of my life smoking marijuana, so some may call be a hypocrite for my opinion. I call it Christian maturity.
Did You Know…Jesus was offered drink while He was on the cross on at least two, perhaps three, separate occasions. Furthermore, Matthew 27:34 says that drink was mixed with gall, that is, something that was bitter. Mark 15:23 tells us that it was myrrh, which is a narcotic.
How Did We Get Here?
In 2009, President Obama directed the US Department of Justice to defer to state laws regarding medical marijuana. He released a memo advising U.S. attorneys in medical marijuana states to not pursue individuals who are in compliance with state laws. The threat of raids from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) then became a minimal threat in states whose laws support legalizing marijuana.
Marijuana and the Money Trail
As documented in a recent article, a California doctor explained how it only takes minutes to obtain a marijuana prescription. Now that the United States government is moving quickly toward socialism, it is in dire need of the tax revenue marijuana will provide.
The days of a shady character selling marijuana out of his car is being replaced by professionals in three-piece suits. Imagine the economic boost when marijuana is one day traded as a Wall Street commodity alongside soy bean, wheat, and cocoa!
The opportunities to generate jobs, income, and taxation are staggering. Similar to medical sales and people soliciting doctors for the next big pharmaceutical miracle drugs, we are now breeding marijuana seed specialists and marijuana quality reps. State licenses are expensive, there are many licenses offered, and they are all renewable.
In Colorado, the number of marijuana dispensaries now outnumber the quantity of Colorado Starbucks. Expect the quality and strength of marijuana to become more consistent with increased potency.
According to NBC affiliate Colorado News Station 9: “The state (Colorado) collected $4,775,679 from marijuana-related sales tax in June 2014, up from $4,511,668 collected in May 2014. To date, Colorado has collected $25,307,067 in pot taxes. Officials projected the state would collect $60 to $70 million by the end of the fiscal year (June 2015).”
I said it decades ago, and I repeat it today: every US state will eventually legalize marijuana.
Marijuana’s Growth Rate
Not since the freedom of alcohol from prohibition has America seen such a ground swell to transform marijuana from a the mental image of Cheech & Chong as idiot stoners to a respectable, legal, licensed industry.
According to the organization NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) “2014: A Wonderful Year for Marijuana Smokers”:
2014 was truly a watershed year for the movement to legalize marijuana in this country. Two states joined the list of jurisdiction to switch from prohibition to regulated sales, and the District of Columbia, as well as a number of cities, adopted complete decriminalization for minor offenses. And scores of additional states saw their first serious legalization proposals introduced in their state legislatures, a fact that holds great promise for more victories to come in the near future.
No Longer Just Smoking a Joint — Coming Soon to a Market Near You: Edibles
According to a recent International Business Times article:
…adults aged 21 and older can walk into one of Washington state’s recently licensed pot shops, show their ID, and make a purchase from an array of legal products. In Colorado, which opened its first marijuana retail stores in January, and is the only other state where recreational marijuana use is legal, ‘Budtenders’ sell cannabis-infused products ranging from butter, ice cream and chocolate bars to gummy candies, lemonades, granola bars, sweet cakes and beef jerky.
But Does Marijuana Have Negative Effects? The Facts…
According to DrugAbuse.gov: “Marijuana affects memory, judgment, and the lungs. Regular use of marijuana has also been linked to depression, anxiety, and a loss of drive or motivation, which means a loss of interest even in previously enjoyable activities. Its effects can be unpredictable, especially when other drugs are mixed with it.”
… Smoking pot can increase your heart rate by as much as two times for up to 3 hours. That’s why some people have a heart attack right after they use marijuana. It can increase bleeding, lower blood pressure, and affect your blood sugar, too. We don’t yet know if marijuana is linked to higher odds of getting lung cancer. But the process does irritate your lungs — which is why regular pot smokers are more likely to have an ongoing cough, and to have lung-related health problems like chest colds and lung infections.
Other physical effects of marijuana include:
- Shallow breathing
- Red eyes and dilated pupils
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Slowed reaction time (If you drive after using marijuana, your risk of being in a car accident more than doubles.)
According to Edmunds.com: “Marijuana, young drivers and serious car accidents are on a collision course. Fatal crashes involving drivers whose systems showed evidence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, nearly tripled in 10 years, rising from 4.2 percent in 1999 to 12.2 percent in 2010,” according to a study released earlier this year by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
In another four-year study, 43 percent of fatally injured drivers under 24 tested positive for cannabinoids. The percentage was lower for older age groups.
Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that when drivers are killed in motor vehicle crashes, drugs other than alcohol are involved about 18% of the time. That means that one in six drivers killed in traffic mishaps are under the influence of drugs.
The “About Heath” Website states that using marijuana can impair your judgment, motor coordination, ability to concentrate and slow your reaction time, and therefore can impair your driving skills. Anytime the skills needed to drive safely are impaired, even slightly, the chances of having a auto crash increase.
The Grey Area of Insurance Coverage and Marijuana Use
Marijuana is absorbed by fatty tissue similar to LSD. One time usage can be traced for days, habitual users for weeks. Why does that matter? Let’s assume you got high last night. You woke up this morning feeling fine. You went to work this morning and got injured or became involved in a car accident. You’ll claim you were no longer high. How will the insurance company react when traces of THC are discovered in your blood? The legal ramifications have yet to be determined.
It is well established that alcohol increases accident risk, as far as insurance companies are concerned; but evidence of marijuana’s culpability in on-road driving accidents seems to be less established, making it harder to predict how insurance companies will handle such situations.
The Bible, Wine, and Marijuana…
After typing in certain keywords, I was amazed to discover Christian websites offering a list of Bible verses supporting the use of marijuana. Many of them offer verses that portray marijuana as a common green plant or a seasoning herb.
The most misunderstood Bible verse marijuana users endorse is Genesis 1:29 – King James Version (KJV) –29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”
I can’t speak for the content of the Garden of Eden, but I can tell you not every green plant, flower, and fruit is innocent. We certainly wouldn’t eat poison ivy thinking that all nature is acceptable! The website HerbWisdom lists a plethora of plants and herbs that are dangerous and deadly.
The Bible does not directly address any form of illicit drug use. However, it does address wine and strong drink. Wine in small amounts can be beneficial to our health. However, the Bible speaks widely about excessive drink. Not that I’m endorsing wine, but a sip of wine results in minor mental reaction. But with marijuana, there’s no such thing as being a little high!
Proverbs 20:1: “Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
Ephesians 5:18: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
GotQuestions.org does a very good job supporting the Bible’s position concerning drugs:
Beyond stewardship, as Christians, our bodies are not our own. We “have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not “with perishable things like silver or gold . . . but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19). Having bought us with His own life, Christ has delighted to create in us something entirely new, something somewhat bizarre. By indwelling us with His Spirit, He has turned us into organic temples of sorts. So now, caring for our health is not just a matter of good stewardship. It is a matter of reverential piety. To pollute or harm our bodies is to desecrate the House of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). This is both wondrous and terrifying.
Should Christians Smoke Pot?
Although this is a debatable fact, with perhaps many out there disagreeing with my opinion, I believe marijuana is a gateway drug. Nearly everyone I knew growing up escalated from marijuana to other drugs, including myself.
To reiterate, the Bible does not directly address any form of illicit drug use. Therefore, to twist the Word of God in support of ANY drug or alcohol that is used for recreational purposes is not Biblical and therefore should not be done by a Christ-follower.
I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Romans 12:1 (NIV)
As legalization continues, marijuana use will become socially accepted, supported by professionals and governments. The legalization of marijuana will be the next excuse to legalize and justify the use of other drugs and narcotics in future days.
This is a battle we can’t win. The proverbial genie is out of the bottle and cannot be put back. There is too much money and power to be gained from legalization.
As Christians, we must prepare our children and, unfortunately, the adults of THIS generation about the importance of staying true to Christ, seeking the kingdom, and choosing the Holy Spirit over herbal spirits.