According to a 2019 poll, 79% of Americans aged 25-44 support the legalization of marijuana. The poll was conducted by Investor’s Business Daily and TechnoMetrica. Overall, 63% favor legalization (“Americans Embrace Marijuana Legalization,” TechnoMetrica, Aug. 2019). Ten states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults older than 21, while 33 states have legalized medical marijuana. Others states have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug. The legalization of recreational marijuana in America began in in 2012 with Colorado and Washington setting the pace. In 2018, Canada became the second country to fully legalize recreational marijuana, after Uruguay. Proponents of recreational marijuana use typically ignore proven dangers such as addiction, psychosis, marijuana as a gate-way drug, long-term effects on learning, cognition, and personality, “amotivational syndrome” (lethargy and loss of interest in achievement), bronchitis and respiratory infections, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. A study published in the Lancet in March 2019 found that “smoking high-potency cannabis, used daily, has been linked to diagnosis of conditions like schizophrenia, paranoia and other psychosis disorders” (UPI, Mar. 20, 2019). This is the latest in a long line of evidence that marijuana is not an innocent relaxation drug. We are convinced that the legalization of recreational marijuana is a foolish experiment that will have serious repercussions. I know this all too well, having been a drug user before I was saved, beginning with my Army tour in Vietnam in 1970-71. After I was discharged, I was immersed in the hippy culture. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug with hallucinogenic properties. It can mess with the depths of a man’s soul. It affects people differently, but depression, intense anxiety, and paranoia are common side effects, and acute psychosis is not infrequent, as the previously cited study proves. It was definitely a “gateway” drug for me and for a lot of my friends. And the marijuana of today is vastly more powerful than the marijuana of the 1960s and 1970s, typically containing 15-20% THC (the psychoactive ingredient), and going as high as 37%, compared to 3 and 4 percent in the past. The rush to legalize marijuana is the fruit of the rock & roll pop culture that has been taking shape since the jazz era and came into full bloom in the 1960s. At its heart is the licentious philosophy of live as you please. It is the product of a filthy entertainment industry, an educational system devoted to moral relativism, a society that celebrates unrestrained self-expression, and the gross lack of wisdom typically reflected in mainstream media reporting. God’s command that His people be “sober” is repeated 12 times in the New Testament Epistles. It means to be in control of one’s mind and spirit so that nothing but God is in charge. “Sober” is the opposite of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or anything else.
(Friday Church News Notes, May 8, 2020, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)