California Has Gone To Pot!

Growing up in England, nearly everyone who took to gardening, pretty much had what is called “a green thumb,” of course not literally. The phrase means that an Englishman or woman has the natural ability to grow plants.

One particularly leafy, green plant that is growing and flourishing in America is Marijuana. On January 1, 2018 California became the latest state to legalize marijuana, and it has become a billion dollar industry. The market is expected to hit 3.7 billion by the end of the year, increasing to over 5 billion in 2019. It is considered to be a financial windfall for California, as the state will benefit from a 1.4 billion tax profit.

Law-makers have given the green light to grow and sell the substance, which has caused many, especially those with a liberal view, to rejoice in their new found, recreational freedom. Surely those responsible for approving such a controversial bill lack common sense, and have absolutely no moral standard. Let us not forget the greed of those investing in the cannabis schemes––those who are now lining their pockets with green dollar bills at the expense of others. Yes, in the name of social freedom, those making decisions in our society have purposely put the next generation at risk while getting rich.

I believe legalizing and selling pot is one of the worst things to happen to Californians this year. I would simply state, “California has gone to pot,” literally! For those not accustomed to this phrase, gone to pot, it means: “to become worse or despoiled because of lack of care or effect.” Sadly, this is exactly what is happening.

California is making lots of money while people are legally smoking pot, but does our state really care about the effects on our society, particularly the health of our teenagers? What about the long term effects of the drug on the unborn? How safe are our roads when drivers are under the influence of Marijuana?

Let us take a sobering look at some the dreadful effects of marijuana found mostly on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website:

  • Is Marijuana addictive? Yes! In 2015 about 4.0 million people in the United States met the criteria for addiction. The THC in marijuana changes the physical and chemical balance in your brain. You can develop a tolerance to the drug and need a higher dosage to get the same effect. It is also a drug that is thought to be a gateway to stronger drug usage because of the social environment with other drugs users.
  • Although not completely conclusive, those working in the medical field agree that there are long term effects on the unborn babies––all harmful. At birth, babies had deterred responses to visual stimuli, increased trembling, and high pitched cry––which could indicate problems with neurological development.
  • Marijuana has its strongest impact on young people whose brains are still building new connections and maturing in other ways. It is documented that there are structural differences in the brain, altered connectivity impacting memory, learning and attention problems, as well as impulse control. In fact, a person smoking Marijuana can lose up to 8 points in their IQ. Marijuana can also cause psychiatric disorders.
  • Did you know that Marijuana deposits four times as much tar in the lungs than cigarettes and can lead to bronchitis and pneumonia?
  • Drivers with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol––the chemical compound in cannabis responsible for a euphoric high) in their blood were about twice as likely to be blamed for a fatal crash. The drug impairs judgment, motor coordination and reaction time.

Biblically where should the Church stand on the issue of Marijuana? The Bible often tells Christians to be sober-minded. Why? We have an adversary who wants to destroy our lives: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). The word sober means “to be calm and collected in spirit, abstain from wine.” We should never be intoxicated with drink or be under the influence of drugs. Drugs like alcohol, which is a drug, destroys lives. Besides, how can any person discern and watch out for the enemy when they are stoned out of their minds and their senses have become impaired? They cannot even think straight.

The Word of God is very clear when it comes to the use of drugs, and it would be beneficial to understand the context of Galatians 5:19-21: Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Sorcery is the word pharmakeia which is associated with the use of drugs. The Apostle Paul was speaking to Christians; he wanted to make it clear that those who made a practice of these sins would not go to heaven. Christians cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in the Church. Paul’s message was strong. Why? He did not want anyone to be self-deceived into thinking they would inherit the kingdom of God, when, in reality, they are not!

As with any addiction, what can free this generation from its substance abuse? Jesus Christ, our Savior, addressed the issue of sin and its hold over a person’s life: “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).

Christians need to have genuine compassion for those in bondage to drugs; they should have an urgency to reach them with the Gospel. Those trapped in an addictive lifestyle need to know Christ’s unconditional love for them. Instead of being a slave of sin, they can have a relationship with God as a son or daughter. He can set them free from their addiction. Then, when they die, they can live forever in heaven (John 3:16).

Claire Wren