I have smoked pot thousands of times. From my early teens to early twenties I smoked pot nearly every day, and normally many times a day. Experientially, I was an expert on pot.
It has been nearly thirty years since I got high. My friends tell me the pot is better today. In other words, while back in the day it use to take two or three hits (or a whole joint if it was “ditch weed”) to get high, today it only takes one hit to get high. I’m also told that pot is stronger than it was in the 70’s. Today’s pot provides a better high than the stuff I once smoked. So they say.
Let me clear some air about smoking pot. First, getting high by smoking pot and laughing with friends is fun, which is why people do it. Second, for the uninitiated, a few beers get someone much more intoxicated than a few tokes. It’s true. As a pot smoker, I viewed people who drank as out of control slobbering drunks. I didn’t stumble around puking at parties and later crash my car, no, I was better.
So, if smoking pot is an enjoyable high that doesn’t really intoxicate someone all that bad, why did I quit?
First, I quit because pot is illegal. Smoking pot got me in trouble many times; with the police, the US Navy, and even the police in Kenya. I still wake up from dreams where I am running from the Law with my pot. Smoking pot is illegal and one reason I quit was to have a good conscience in obeying the Law.
Second, I quit because getting high is a sin. The Bible condemns intoxication with alcohol (and by inference other substances) as sinful (Lev. 10:9; Deut. 21:20; Prov. 24:29-35; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:9-10; Gal. 5:21; Eph. 5:18).
In 1 Cor. 6:9-20 Scripture makes it clear that we should not be mastered (addicted) to food, immorality (the Greek term here especially includes pornography), or anything else. While I realize that pot is not physically addictive, it is certainly psychologically addictive. Why else do people want to smoke it so badly? Clearly pot exercises a control (mastery) over people to get high (intoxicated).
In Gal. 5:20, one of the works of the sinful nature is “sorcery” (Gr. Pharmaceia). We get our modern English word “pharmacist” from this Greek term. In the ancient world; sorcery, magic, and drugs, were closely related concepts. Sort of like our concept of “witch-doctor.” Illicit drugs to intoxicate or escape life are listed next to idolatry, drunkenness and other works of the sinful nature.
In my interactions on Facebook concerning pot, I have been amazed at the silly rationalizing that people smoke pot because it tastes nice (like perhaps sipping wine at dinner), and not to get high. Therefore, because they are not smoking pot to get high, smoking pot is not sinful. Frankly, this has to be the dumbest argument I have ever heard. After smoking pot with hundreds of people, I have never known anyone who was smoking it for the taste, and not trying to get high. Besides, if what my friends tell me about pot today (mentioned above), and “one toke gets you high as a kite,” then there is no such thing as smoking pot without getting high. Every honest (not self-deluded) person knows that the motive for smoking pot is to get high. Let’s not be silly about this. People smoke pot to get high (intoxicated), and getting high is sinful.
Third, I quit because pot is harmful to me. Smoking is harmful to one’s health. When someone smokes a cigarette, they inhale generally filtered smoke. When someone smokes pot, they not only inhale the smoke, but they hold the smoke in their lungs as long as possible for the drug to exercise maximum benefit. As the old phrase goes, “take a toke and hold your smoke and it will blow your mind.” I am not a physician, but common sense tells us that holding smoke in our lungs every day is not good for our health!
Beyond the physical harm of smoking pot, everyone who smokes pot knows that it makes one, well, sort of dumb. Duh? We used to talk about getting high as “getting stupid.” Again, someone else can comment on what happens to brain cells, but I can speak with first-hand experiential knowledge about how pot slows a person down and dulls their senses. My guess is that this affects their ability to drive, to work, to think, and function. Oh, I know, the pot smoker thinks they are doing “just fine,” but they are only fooling themselves.
Smoking pot makes a person irritable when they are not high. Having experienced this hundreds of times, it makes me wonder how it can be argued that pot is not physically addictive. I guess it was all in my mind. This grouchiness is a common experience for pot-smokers who are not high. Again, they may not notice it, but others do. Clearly, smoking pot is harmful to one’s physical and emotional health.
Fourth, I quit because smoking pot placed me in the wrong crowd. The Bible says, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Cor. 15:33). This is a hard to write, but I was part of a law-breaking, sinful crowd, that was destroying our health. My friends were not good for me, and I was not good for them. When I became a follower of Jesus I realized that I needed to new group of friends. Again, the Bible says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22). If I really wanted to follow Jesus, I needed to pursue righteousness with a group who wanted to call on the Lord with a pure heart, and this was sadly, not a description of my druggie friends. See Eph. 5:8-12; Col. 3:7-10; 1 Peter 4:3-5.
So this is why I personally quit smoking pot, but why should marijuana be illegal foreveryone else?
Good question, here is my answer. First, I need to focus my comments. I am not addressing the medical use of marijuana. Many drugs have medicinal value and are prescription only, that is, not for recreational use. I will leave the medicinal value of marijuana to others; I am addressing the recreational use of marijuana. Here are two reasons why I think pot should remain illegal.
First, as I argued above, marijuana is physically and psychologically harmful. I will let medical researchers (Google, for example, the recent study by Harvard and Northwestern University showingpot causing brain damage) and psychologists argue over the details, but as I argued above, smoking pot is hardly good for a person. I contend that recreational drug use is bad for individuals and bad for society, and it’s good for society to have laws that prohibit destructive behavior.
Second, also argued above, smoking marijuana to get high is sinful from a Christian perspective. What is amazing to me is that many will agree with my theological premise (pot is sinful), yet not agree with the application of my theology in my American context (pot should be illegal). I find this stunning.
Let me try this with some other moral issues.
Murder is sinful; therefore I think murder (including abortion) should be illegal.
Slavery is sinful; therefore I think slavery should be illegal.
Racism is sinful: therefore I think racism should be illegal.
Drunkenness is sinful; therefore I think drunkenness should be illegal.
Rape is sinful; therefore I think rape should be illegal.
America is a pluralistic democracy and everyone is welcome to argue for their views in the public square to see if the can win support and create a law. The Homosexual lobby has been very effective in the past decades to argue for their views and win support for laws that favor their position. The pro-pot lobby has been effective in Colorado to lobby for their position and win support for laws that favor their position. Why is it viewed as inappropriate for me to argue against pot being legal? It isn’t. It is part of the pluralistic democracy and free speech of the US that I can lobby against pot being legal if I want. Of course, I may not persuade others and win support for pot being illegal, but it is certainly appropriate to make the case if I like.
Every generation is known for some great moral issues, and I think the legalization of marijuana is serious step down in the greatness of America and I am opposed to pot being legal. Others argue (amazingly) that we cannot legislate morality. What exactly would you call the list above? They are morals, and we legislated laws concerning them. Of course, legislation does not force anyone to believe differently, but it does manage behavior.
Others object that I am imposing my Christian values on others by calling pot sinful and arguing for it to be illegal. This is a remarkable argument! Stated differently, the thought goes like this; you can argue morals from any perspective except a Christian one! Morals come from a moral system of thought. That system might be atheistic, evolutionary, communistic, Islamic, Hindu, secular, or Christian. How remarkable that one can argue for morality from nearly any system except Christianity. Ironically, we are told we cannot argue from the dominant moral system in American culture.
Grasping at straws, some protest that I will next argue for everyone in the US to ascribe the Apostle’s Creed and force everyone to become a Christian. First, it truly is my fervent prayer before God for everyone in the US (and our world!) to become a Christian! But this protest fails to distinguish between morals and religion. Arguing for the establishment of a specific religion in the United States is surely contrary to the Constitution. Arguing for specific morals and ethics to become the law of the land (whether they be religious or philosophical in nature) is surely envisioned in the Constitution.
In summary, I believe the United States will be a better place to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for families and businesses with the recreational use of marijuana remaining illegal.