What Does the Bible Say About Pot?
Why Marijuana Should Be Illegal
by Pastor Bob Enyart
Denver Bible Church
2012 Updates: Netherlands study of two thousand teens show pot/psychosis link.
- Bob's pot debate with Tom Tancredo, former presidential candidate.
- Landmark study: pot "permanently lowers IQ".
- Bob debates pot at HuffingtonPost.com/Bob-Enyart.
- Scientists cultivate medical marijuana without the high to the disapproval of many.
- Miami cannibal and cannabis smoker who shocked the world tested positive only for marijuana.
2013 Updates: From the Pot Never Killed Anybody File: Pothead crane operator kills six in Philadelphia.
- Pothead decapitates self with own booby-trapped pot farm
- The pot in Trayvon Martin's system when he attacked Zimmerman was sufficient to cause impairment of judgment.
- By the end of 2013 the Denver Post is still in a stuper but at least they've noticed the fog. Sad but important insights on the long lasting harm from smoking pot as described by a professor from the University of Colorado's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. (Notice though the Post uncritically quoting a pot dealer who speaks of his customers as "patients".)
2014 Updates: With today's stronger pot, the second person in England has now died of cannabis poisoning.
- Since potheads have slower reactions, they therefore are far more likely to suffer premature death.
- Famous advocate George Michael quits smoking pot after drug driving, twice, jail, and falling out of a car at 70 mph.
- A 19-year-old Congo exchange student jumped to his death in Denver after eating a pot cookie "legally" bought by a friend.
The question of marijuana legalization, often debated emotionally, turns on some fundamental biblical principles. Christians, or anyone really, must understand these moral concepts before being able to argue conclusively. God does not require society to put up with the risk of human beings who lose control of their faculties by being high, whether through alcohol or other drugs. Further, as shown in the Neighbors section below, the Bible reveals that negligence has legal consequences. Thus, if the government wrongly decriminalizes some activity, then the government itself would share in the guilt for the resulting harm. While THC prescription drugs made from marijuana are currently available, and a non-intoxicating strain of marijuana has been developed in 2012, many advocate going far beyond this toward making "medical marijuana" generally available and even toward the ultimate decriminalization of cannabis. However, if the normal use of any chemical or herb, such as crack cocaine, ecstasy, or marijuana, makes a person intoxicated, then the government is right to outlaw or to classify that drug as a controlled substance. To begin with though, consider this list of research warning about the effects of marijuana...
- Landmark 2012 PNAS study: pot permanently lowers IQ
- Netherlands study of 2,000 teens show pot/psychosis link
- Schizoid Psychosis during Cannabis Intake
- Marijuana Damages DNA and May Cause Cancer
- Marijuana May Stunt Fetal Growth in 2010 Netherlands study
- Marijuana Associated with Impaired Fetal Growth in 1989 U.S. study
- A Nursing Mother Smoking Marijuana Passes the Drug to Her Child
- Cannabis Intake During Pregnancy Predicts Long-lasting Neurobehavioural Problems for the Child in 2009 European study
- Habitual Marijuana Use Strongly Associated with Car Crash Injury
- Smoking Marijuana Doubles the Risk of Fatal Accidents
- Marijuana Smoke Contains Higher Levels of Certain Toxins than Tobacco Smoke
- Marijuana Smoker Face Rapid Lung Destruction: As much as 20 Years Ahead of Tobacco Smokers
- Impact On Lungs of One Cannabis Joint Equal to Up To Five Cigarettes
- Marijuana Component Opens the Door for Virus that Causes Kaposi's Sarcoma (links to Harvard study)
- Marijuana Causes Learning and Memory Impairments from the journal Neurobiology.
For half a century now, marijuana has been overwhelmingly politically correct among the faculty and students on college campuses. Thus as with many controversial research topics, the inherent bias for and against marijuana can easily produce false study results.
Of course there are many studies showing that marijuana is harmless and endlessly beneficial. And there are decades of studies that show that:
* Abortion does not increase breast cancer [recently refuted]
* Spanking should not be part of child discipline [recently refuted]
* The death penalty is not a deterrent [long refuted]
Marijuana is intensely politically correct on college campuses where many of the pro-marijuana studies originate. Thus bias, problematic on both sides, is especially expected both to counteract the studies showing that marijuana is harmful, and as an expression of the rampant rebellion against God in the relentless effort to overturn beneficial Christian norms. By producing millions of graduates, overtly anti-Christian universities have succeeded even in turning entire professions, like law, medicine, and education, against Christ. This is one reason why conflicting studies abound on many important and moral issues. So the Christian must think outside of the box, and have the broader perspective to judge between studies, and to discern the truth from the bias.
Millions of Observers
Millions of people believe that smoking pot makes you stupid. Yet, while long-term cigarette smoking is bad for your lungs, there are not millions of people whose observations led them to believe that tobacco lowers your IQ and makes you slow and stupid. Why the distinction? These millions of people don't believe this because they've weighed conflicting scientific studies (including those showing learning and memory impairments from using pot), but because they've seen the results first hand. Studies conflict, of course, but extensive studies show what millions have perceived, that long-term routine pot use leads to serious mental health issues. On the other hand, a nightly glass of red wine has the opposite reputation, of not making anyone slow or stupid, of sustaining mental health, and decreasing the likelihood of dementia.
Applying the principles in God's Word as best we can at Denver Bible Church (which we know does not prove that we are right), we conclude:
- that the studies that show the dangers of marijuana are telling the truth and
- that those who accept the reports that there are no serious harmful side effects to marijuana are deceived, and not all but many of those, willfully so.
Marijuana, by its harmful effects on the brain, eventually owns its users by making them think that they are more insightful than others. They think they become more creative, and smart. In reality millions of people can testify from firsthand use and from firsthand observations that regular pot use makes you stupid. Drinking a glass of red wine nightly has no similar effect.
Smoking pot makes people think they are alert and smart but it puts their minds in a fog. Potheads for example will point to websites like drugwarfacts.org and claim that marijuana is responsible for ZERO deaths per year. Only those with extreme bias or dull minds would believe such a thing. Just from the few notes we're jotted down over the years for reporting on our radio program, we recall the "accident" in which a Mr. Bedell's “use of marijuana hours before the Mother’s Day crash in New Orleans that killed 22 people was the main cause of the wreck,” reported USA Today.
Pot and Mental Health
Those who defend pot tell us that reports claim there is no evidence of long-term harmful mental health effects. But just from our notes for the radio program, here are examples to the contrary. The London Telegraph wrote that a Dr. Turner, England's most senior coroner, estimates that marijuana is "a significant contributing factor" in 10% of the deaths he's worked, notably including suicides. In one British study of 853 drug-related deaths, whereas cocaine was a principal factor in 147, pot was used as the principle drug or in a cocktail in another 51 of those deaths. The Royal College of Psychiatrists reviewed research with similar results from Sweden, Holland and New Zealand. A study of 50,000 Swedish Army conscripts found that those who admitted at age 18 to having taken cannabis on more than 50 occasions were six times more likely to develop schizophrenia (paranoia, delusions, disorganized thinking, social dysfunction, etc.) in the following 15 years. A Dutch study of 4,000 people in the general population showed that those taking large amounts of cannabis were almost seven times more likely to have psychotic symptoms three years later. Such findings are largely ignored. And as I write this the Colorado State police have just announced that with the new "medical marijuana" regulations, Colorado now has a lot more people driving under the influence of marijuana than before. Even one of our own Denver Bible Church members observes that about 90% of the many mental health patients he works with for severe depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, etc., have pot use in their profiles. And another medical professional friend of DBC who works for a government health care program reports from her own experience that pot smoking appears to retard emotional maturity and that many of her patients suffer from psychosis seemingly related to their marijuana use.
Available by Prescription
Not only marijuana (including its THC component) but even the most mind-altering drugs, like opiates, should be available as strictly controlled substances carefully and mercifully prescribed for medical conditions. What Denver Bible Church warns against is the denial that the normal use of marijuana, even from a single drag on a joint, easily produces a quick high. And so we disagree with advocacy of mainstreaming marijuana and making it available as a standard treatment for all kinds of aches and pains. It's one thing for a doctor to write a prescription for a controlled substance, but in Colorado, the "medical marijuana" law doesn't even require that. The doctors basically make pot recommendations, and patients not only end up deciding for themselves how much pot they're going to smoke, they even get to grow their own. Smoking your medicine, and producing it at home no less, has far more to do with normalizing potheads than it has to do with medical treatment.
Many churches will now begin to see members becoming addicted to pot which they have procured from "legal" dispensaries. And experience tells us that these Christians will begin diagnosing ailments, prescribing treatment, and then even distributing the cannabis if need be. Churches can list in their directories who to contact to get hooked up. Alcohol has been legal almost always, but to our knowledge, pastors do not routinely advise friends with various aches and pains to drink rum and coke until the pain goes away. But pot seems to be the drug that's beneficial for every ailment.
Kids Around Pot
Christian parents who smoke pot for aches and pains (or even for much more serious ailments) will end up with kids who smoke to relax or for whatever excuse strikes them. But parents who smoke pot will think that, just as it makes them more creative and intelligent, it'll make their children smarter too.
Immature Christians including parents who are already vulnerable to long-term recreational drug use will have a special weakness toward "medical marijuana." Extensive past drug use of course can affect their ability to think clearly. For example, some long-term marijuana users demonstrate paranoia and can fall victim to paranoid conspiracy theories. Cannabis can lead someone to believe that airplane contrails will control your mind but that smoking pot clears your head.
Kids growing up with parents who drink beer and wine virtually guarantees that they will drink alcohol also. Likewise, the pot user's child will likely grow up to smoke pot, and will be attracted to a boyfriend or girl friend who smokes pot. And those kids will very predictably exploit mom and dad's pot smoking to their own harm. And it is from that harmful influence that the pastor and elders of Denver Bible Church want to protect the adults and the children of Colorado.
Parents on Pot
In addition to the studies showing pot as destructive to to our DNA genetic code, as more destructive to the lungs than tobacco, as negatively affecting neurons, as an impediment to learning and memory, and as especially dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, aside from all that, millions of people intuitively question the ability of long-term marijuana users to think straight, but users themselves think it keeps them sharp.
Researchers who either smoke themselves, or who are politically correct, will bias their studies to undermine this common knowledge. Users say they drive well after smoking. But we doubt that most potheads would let their own young son or daughter get into a car with someone who had just taken a couple hits. And it's sad that that those who use pot at home will, at unexpected times including in emergencies, end up driving their own children to the hospital after they've smoked half a joint.
In addition to making people slow and stupid, pot also makes it harder to control anger and makes users paranoid. The normal use of pot puts a man at greater risk of harming his own family. Self control becomes more elusive, and pot's quick intoxicating effect will weaken a man's moral compass and then, exactly as the Bible warns of drunkenness, increase his lust.
Marijuana and Alcohol
To the argument that pot is like alcohol and so should not be regulated differently, Denver Bible Church judges that reasoning as wrong and believes that pot should be illegal because:
1. It should be illegal to be high (intoxicated)
2. Any substance should be controlled whose normal use makes one high
The reason that God prohibits drunkenness is because a drunk is an unacceptable risk to society and to himself. Yet decades ago the federal government bribed the states to decriminalize even public drunkenness. Now, Christians being seduced by the grotesquely immoral libertarian party platform of states right (to decriminalize child killing and legalize homosexual marriage), are going far beyond marijuana to even advocate for the decriminalization of cocaine too. But when the normal use of a substance gets someone intoxicated, it should not be decriminalized.
Billions of people cannot get drunk on a sip of wine. Hundreds of millions cannot get drunk even on a glass of wine or a can of beer. Conversely, there are countless millions of people who would (and do) get high even with a single drag on a joint (normal use) inhaled and held in the lungs. That single hit affects the moral compass, and as with drunkenness, increases lust. And the potent pot sold today at dispensaries worsens this consequence.
Pot as Prescription
Any intoxicating herb, the normal use of which makes one high like typical recreational drugs, should not be available easily either grown at home or as an over-the-counter product. In Colorado, a Google search and self-diagnosis along with a lightly rehearsed complaint easily leads to a doctor's recommendation, followed by ongoing self-prescribing, self-medicating, and self-production of the drug. Then once on pot the user, who is very smart, concludes that he makes better decisions and even drives better. But in reality, over months and years, he lives in a deepening fog which puts others, including his children, neighbors, and first-responders, at the kind of increased risk that God does not require society to tolerate.
Proponents seem to think that prescription drug abuse somehow argues in favor of decriminalizing pot. Yet drugs from Ativan to Valium and Xanax took time to garner their reputation as significantly abused medications (years or decades). Whereas medical marijuana, which Colorado law now permits by a doctor's "recommendation" and "without a prescription," clearly has an immediate out-of-the-gate abuse track record.
So THC and other cannabis-based drugs should be available as strictly controlled substances, like other drugs, and prescribed carefully to treat specific medical conditions, and not generally advocated and made easily available to the general public so that they can self-medicate whenever they feel the urge. And the medical community should pursue the 2012 breaktrhough designed to "help those smoking marijuana for medical purposes" in which "scientists have cultivated a cannabis plant that doesn't get people stoned." Yet one of the world's leading marijuana sites asks, Why? That is, exposing their own concern for hurting people as just a ploy to normalize getting high, they ask, Why would anyone want to provide medical marijuana that doesn't get you high? So don't look for this brand stocked on your local dispensary's shelves. Still though, regardless of disinterest from the pro-pot lobby, the medical community should aggressively pursue such developments.
Biblically, gross negligence has legal consequences (Exodus 22:6; Deut. 22:8; etc.). If the government tolerated gross negligence by, for example, allowing drunk driving, and someone is thereby injured, the governing officials (with all of America) would be guilty before God for the harm done. Thus God does not require society to put up with gross negligence. Therefore the government should ban recreational drugs and outlaw drunkenness from alcohol. (The federal government strong-armed the states to decriminalize drunkenness during the mid twentieth century so that today, unwisely, in the U.S., and in Australia and Britain, etc., it is no longer a crime to be drunk.)
The guy claiming a right to shoot a gun in a city park because he's a good shot and hasn't (yet) hit anyone is rightly overruled. Examples of the predictable consequences of the grossly negligent behavior of getting high or drunk include:
- stoned drivers who actually think they drive better when smoking pot
- people who've smoked a joint who then end up driving a car after they thought they were home for the night
- a stoner who laughs that his cigarette fell behind the couch which then starts a fire that kills a baby upstairs
- the pot mom who drives away with her baby on the roof of her car
- pornography consumed even by many who may not otherwise have viewed it
- crimes and sexual immorality committed (like Ted Bundy who couldn't violate his conscience to murder unless he was intoxicated)
- the dollars spent on emergency room services, etc., for domestic violence and other victims hurt by stoners
- the cost of treating the user for injuries and illnesses resulting from drug abuse and alcoholism.
So when the normal use of any substance makes a person intoxicated, then the government correctly outlaws and classifies that drug as a controlled substance. Thus while THC and related medications should be available on a prescription basis from a pharmacy, pot use should not be normalized and the marijuana drug should be illegal.
Pastor Bob Enyart
Denver Bible Church & KGOV.com
Programming Note: You can listen to Bob Enyart and Doug McBurney's BEL show on "medical" marijuana and see Bob's debate on pot, rounds I & II, at HuffingtonPost.com/Bob-Enyart including his argument that alcohol prohibition reduced consumption.