Canada Legalizes Marijuana
Canada has become the second country to fully legalize recreational marijuana, after Uruguay. In Newfoundland, Canada’s easternmost province, marijuana shops opened at midnight on October 17 to serve queues of customers. Like the legalization of “same-sex marriage,” the legalization of marijuana is a reflection of a dramatic change in the moral and spiritual condition of a nation. Since 2012, ten states in the United States have legalized recreational marijuana and others have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of the drug. 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. Earlier this year it was announced that a major new scientific study by Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, found that marijuana use is independently associated with a 26 percent increased risk of stroke and a 10 percent increase in heart failure (“Pot Smoking,” Newsmax, Mar. 16, 2018). Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado in 2012, the number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana use jumped 145 percent (‘Traffic fatalities linked to marijuana,’ Denver Post, Aug. 25, 2017). Teen drug use in Colorado is the highest in the nation. Fatal, drug-related automobile accidents have skyrocketed (“The sad anniversary of Big Commercial Pot in Colorado,’ The Gazette, Nov. 21, 2017). We are convinced that the legalization of recreational marijuana is a foolish experiment that will have serious repercussions. The fact that marijuana use in modern culture can be traced to the lascivious world of jazz, blues, and rock & roll is warning enough for those who have ears to hear. I know this all too well, having been a drug user before I was saved, beginning with my time in Vietnam in the Army in 1970-71. After I was discharged, I was immersed in the hippy drug culture, joining many of my generation on the Beatles’ very stupid Magical Mystery Tour. Alcohol is a powerful drug, but marijuana changed my thinking more than alcohol. It is a psychoactive drug with hallucinogenic properties. It is not an innocent thing. It can mess with the depths of a man’s soul. Not everyone has bad experiences with the drug, but a lot do. It affects people differently, but depression, intense anxiety, and paranoia are common side effects, and acute psychosis is not infrequent. 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. In 2013, the American Medical Association recommended against legalization, warning that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern. Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neuro-cognitive performance and IQ, and use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood, and psychotic-thought disorders” (Ruth Marcus, “The perils of legalized pot,” The Washington Post, Jan. 2, 2014). Sir Robin Murray, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London, says, “Even I, 20 years ago, used to tell patients that cannabis is safe. It’s only after you see all the patients that go psychotic that you realize—it’s not so safe” (cited from Linda Nathan, The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, available from LighthouseTrails.com). The rush to legalize marijuana is driven by the lascivious pop culture, the 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. One can be drunk on music, fashion, video games, professional sports, or anything that has captured the heart. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Because of the speed with which so many fundamental Baptist churches are spiraling toward a contemporary stance that is accompanied by a “don’t judge, let people live as they please” philosophy, I predict that it won’t be long before some accept the use of alcohol and marijuana.
(Friday Church News Notes, October 26, 2018, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
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