The media has sold the American public on the idea that marijuana cannot hurt anyone and is not habit forming. Proponents argue that marijuana legalization in all 50 states would produce 46 billion dollars in federal sales tax revenue and more than one million jobs by 2025. Polls show that 61% of Americans believe marijuana should be legal.
We are also told that a benefit of marijuana legalization is that the government will control dosage and potency. I can remember when the Food and Drug Administration was making the same claims about the use of tobacco when I was a teenager. We all know the result of the long-term forestalling of government control of the use of tobacco. Dr. Sharon Levy who is the director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital says, “We are simply not prepared for the fallout of marijuana legalization.”
Here are the known facts about marijuana:
*The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is roughly 40 times stronger in today’s “weed” than the “grass” of the 1970s.
*Claims that marijuana is not addictive are simply lies. One out of every six teens who smoke marijuana become addicted to it.
*Studies of teens while smoking marijuana show that there is a significant change in the brain. There is a change in the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain that affects motivation and learning.
*Studies of long-time users show long-term memory loss, a drop in IQ points equal to lead poisoning, and deterioration in the language areas.
*Studies show that teens who frequently smoked pot were less likely to hold full-time jobs as adults, less likely to get married, and less likely to finish their education.
*Since Colorado legalized the drug, marijuana-related visits to emergency rooms and urgent care centers have tripled among those under 21.
Those of us who follow Jesus Christ believe that the body is the “Temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Bible tells us to take care of the body, and that certainly means not taking a recreational drug that we know damages our bodies. Alcohol, nicotine, and pot damage the temple of God, and we must stand opposed to their use.
The chemicals in marijuana that can ease pain and help those in distress are not what we are talking about in this discussion. Paul told Timothy to “use a little wine to help you to get over your frequent spells of illness” (1 Timothy 5:23). We need to use our intelligence and apply the things God has given us wisely as we consider marijuana legalization. Using any substance in a way that does damage to our body and alters our ability to think and react wisely and constructively is wrong.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data and quotes from Reader’s Digest, July 8, 2018 pages 78-82.