This week, I received a postcard in the mail, but it wasn’t from a friend travelling in faraway lands. No, this was from the Government of Canada, giving me advice on how to deal with the new law that comes into effect next Wednesday, legalizing the recreational use of cannabis.
For a lot of you Dear Readers, what I’m about to suggest will not be a surprise, but if anyone happens to read this who is wondering, here’s my encouragement to you: just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.
When marijuana is prescribed by a physician, the dosage and mixture of elements is specifically and carefully set to provide relief for the patient; I have friends who have received much help, and been able to set aside the Tylenol® bottle, thanks to a properly-prescribed cannabis dose. While even this is controversial, it holds no candle to the legalization of pot for recreational use.
As I see it, the government did not think through the ramifications of this bill. Of course, some will say that regulation along with legalization will make a difference, but the last time I checked, under-age drinking still happens, so I’m not sure how the government thinks that the regulation of cannabis is going to stop people who are below the age of majority from accessing it.
I’m particularly concerned for young people in this case because it is a documented fact that cannabis use before brain development is complete can contribute to the onset of schizophrenia, which causes all sorts of other challenges.
And I’m concerned for followers of Jesus. Some will say that the Bible doesn’t talk about pot, so why not give it a try? Well, the Bible doesn’t talk about Brussels sprouts or jumping off a cliff, either. This is where scriptural principles need to be applied in other areas of life, wisely, by Christians.
I won’t address whether God’s people should eat those Little Green Balls of Death, leaving that to your conscience. But we recognize that jumping off a cliff may not be expressly prohibited in the Bible, but it’s universally seen to be a bad idea. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.
Christians differ on issues of alcohol and tobacco use, to be sure. But all agree that addiction is problematic. And as I understand it, the likelihood of addiction with cannabis use is significant, and those who become addicted don’t just get more weed; they move on to other drugs, all of which are known to be harmful to health and destructive to society.
Let me encourage you not only to avoid recreational cannabis use, to preserve your witness for the gospel, but also to act to seek to get this law repealed, for the good of the human race. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s right.
‘“All things are lawful,” but not all things are beneficial. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up’ (1 Corinthians 10.23, NRSV).