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Greg P

The Legalization of Marijuana-- The Christian Perspective

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As someone with family and relatives living in Washington, and as a pastor who primarily shepherds teenagers and young adults, I've taken the view that marijuana use is akin to alcohol and tobacco use--in moderation, with a humility and willingness to give up one's freedom to partake in something for the sake of another who may stumble into temptation or sin. Paul talks about choosing to abstain from a variety of freedoms in both his letters to the Corinthians (eating food sacrificed to idols, participating in pagan meals, receiving monetary compensation from the Corinthian church, etc), with the motive to not place any sort of stumbling block between the Gospel and people around him. "If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ." (1 Corinthians 9:12)

So if there are those around me who are undisciplined in moderation, and I don't have the relational equity or adequate time to have a proper conversation with them, then partaking in a potentially questionable freedom might not be the best move ...

Also, the whole "it's illegal so it's inherently sinful" argument has little sway with me. Plenty of past and present unjust laws prove otherwise.

While I've seen it misapplied, I think the "stumbling block" argument against use is one of the more respectable arguments. If you drink, and if you have friends who are recovered alcoholics, drinking around them would be encouraging them to stumble into a past addiction that has the power to destroy their lives. If you use marijuana, and if you have friends who have abused it in the past, then using marijuana around them would encourage them back into addictive behavior that could destroy destroy careers and marriages.

Scientifically, I think the weight of the evidence seems to show that marijuana use is not physically addictive. But, that doesn't mean it can't be psychologically addictive. There are many different sorts of behavior and habits that can be psychologically addictive. And, as the country slowly gets around to legalization, I believe the church needs to make it clear that excessive use of any kind is at least in violation of the principle expressed in I Corinthians 6:12.

As far as another couple Christian perspectives on the issue, how about Southern Baptist vs. Catholic? Here's a fun excerpt from "A Firing Line Debate: Resolved: That Drug Prohibition Has Failed," March 15, 1991:

... Reverend Jerry Falwell: I am not here as a legislator ... but rather as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ who, like many others out there - pastors, counselors, Christian workers, et cetera ... are responsible for picking up the debris after the ODs and after the family destruction and after the moral breakdown of traditional values in the society, which clearly are being ravaged by the drug epidemic in our country ... There is no question that to legalize drugs, in the mind of the average American youth, is to give tacit approval to its goodness, its acceptability, and regardless what the punishment is, be it minor or whatever, I oppose such tacit approval for the sake of those young people who have not yet become victims ...

William F. Buckley, Jr.: Dr. Falwell, our society permits the Democratic Party to exist. Does that mean it has our tacit approval?

Falwell: Absolutely not.

Buckley: We tolerate the National Enquirer. Some states have gambling. I really don’t understand your assumption that because something is permitted, it has the moral approbation of the society that permits it.

Falwell: I think the greatest case in point, Bill, is this. When in 1973 we legalized abortion on demand, the numbers went up several thousand percent to one-and-a-half million abortions annually since that time. Whether you agree or disagree with abortion - and I happen to disagree with it - regardless how you feel on that point, once we made it legal, the numbers skyrocketed. And the same thing will happen when a 21-year-old uncle can buy crack or cocaine or heroin and come outside and give it to a 16-year-old nephew. The numbers will multiply. He’s addicted at the first use, and away he goes.

Buckley: Well, in the first place, you can’t prove that. And unhappily, many arguments of the prohibitionists simply depend on assumptions which they aren’t in a position empirically to verify any more than they might have predicted ten years ago that the incidence of cigarette smoking would descend as dramatically as it has. But remember, I asked the question about approbation, and the answer is -

Moderator: Oh, you’re going to answer it too?

Buckley: - half the American people have no objection to abortion. So therefore, you are posing a moral point and then retreating from the imperatives of your own thinking.

Falwell: No, that’s your thinking.

Buckley: Unless you’re going to say that we should simply outlaw everything we disapprove of and simply assume that there will be an acquiescent majority ...

Falwell: Bill, you’re under oath. Do you really believe the position you’re taking, or are you trying to help us win this thing by being on that side?

Buckley: My feeling is that there is a natural evolution in human intelligence and that it is a sovereign responsibility of rational people to take empirical data into their general reckoning. I was against the position I am now taking until I became convinced by the data that it was a futile position, that many human beings are dead as a result of something that has proved absolutely nothing at all, quite the contrary, which is why I am a joyful convert to the legalization position.

Falwell: So you really are. Okay ...

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I wonder to what degree legalization would actually *solve* some of the issues around drug potency and whatnot. If marijuana (or any other drug) were legalized *and regulated*, the same way alcohol and tobacco are, then presumably it would be possible for the state to standardize some sort of "quality control" on the substances in question. As it is, right now the state simply says "NO!" and so people use whatever they can get.

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Attica   

J.A.A Purves said:

:Scientifically, I think the weight of the evidence seems to show that marijuana use is not physically addictive. But, that doesn't mean it can't be psychologically addictive.

This is what I've read. Cannabis might be psychologically addictive while not physically. Alchohol can be both, and very much so physically.

Thom Wade said:

:One thing I will say...I erally loved that my pot smioking friends never put pressure on me like my drinking friends.

I've seen fairly equal pressure from both groups.

Greg P said:

: I grew up with some friends for whom one of anything was never enough-- be it one beer, one shot of tequilla, one small bowl etc

That's what I grew up with as well. The weekend was all about going out and getting wasted. I knew one guy who smoked a couple of joints before driving a farming tractor when day, and he ended up getting lost... in a field.

I wonder to what degree legalization would actually *solve* some of the issues around drug potency and whatnot. If marijuana (or any other drug) were legalized *and regulated*, the same way alcohol and tobacco are, then presumably it would be possible for the state to standardize some sort of "quality control" on the substances in question. As it is, right now the state simply says "NO!" and so people use whatever they can get.

Yes. Also what they can get can possibly be laced with crack etc. The idea being to get them hooked on something else, so that they'll spend their money on that. Free enterprise I guess. I've heard of it happening.

Legalization would destroy all of this and have a major impact on the income of gangs ect. We don't hear of many alchohol smugglers after the prohabition was lifted. ;)/>

Edited by Attica

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Josie   

I think that illegality casts a shadow and it will take time for marijuana to be viewed as equably as alcohol. Knowing very little about drugs and neuropsychology, I'm still positive that alcohol has shattered more lives more dramatically. And that easing the social stigma off marijuana or making it readily available will not change that.

I don't smoke and I drink very little alcohol. For that matter, I don't drink coffee or soda and very rarely take any sort of pill or medication. But that has nothing to do with faith or morality or self-discipline. (And I don't hold that because some people over-indulge or are tragically vulnerable to these substances, every one else has to refrain.) It might be that I'm haunted by past associations. But I think it's mainly because when most drugs begin to take effect I feel less myself, and I tend not to like that feeling. On the other hand I drink a lot of caffeinated tea, every single day. And sometimes I remember reading about how in 19th? century Britain, when tea first took hold, it was considered by many a degenerate habit, a vice of the lower classes that made them lazy and dull-witted and unproductive.

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Andrew   

As a non-Christian, I can't offer a Christian perspective, but I can offer my health-related objections to marijuana use:

- Smoked, it carries the same carcinogen risks of tobacco

- It is well-established as a gateway drug to the harder stuff (cocaine, heroin, etc).

- Marijuana use predisposes one to the later development of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. In fact, it's estimated that were the world free of cannibis use, 8% of cases of schizophrenia onset would never have occurred

- Even modest use makes many people paranoid, which is not a good state to be in. Chronic, more heavy use does often result in amotivational syndrome.

1) No study that I'm aware of, has ever found a link between the carcinogens that are found in cannabis smoking and the cancers directly associated with tobacco use. Some studies indicate the cannabinoids may actually inhibit cancer cell growth. The opposite is true of tobacco. Just a cursory googling yields this. It's important to note that there are smoke-free delivery methods and these are becoming increasingly popular, particularly vaporizers which eliminate all or nearly all of the carcinogens in question

2) The "gateway drug" rationale is an old one. Cigarettes are a gateway drug. Alcohol is a gateway drug. If you are an addictive personality, addiction and abuse of harder substances will find you-- you don't need cannabis.

3) The link to schizophrenia is tenuous. At best it's a complicated connection, but a

2008 review of the data found that relapse and failure to take prescribed medication was consistently associated with cannabis use, although, again, controlling for other factors weakened the link.
It's no mystery that people with severe mental illness have a tendency to gravitate towards substance abuse and chemical dependency-- roughly 50%. Marijuana use has increased tremendously over the past 30-40 years and yet the national levels for schizophrenia have remained the same.

4) Paranoia can indeed be a side effect of over-use, just like blinding headaches or vomiting can occur after drinking too much. Modest practice does not produce this. Again, self control is key.

Regarding point 1), the link you provided contained this relevant paragraph: "While cannabis smoke has been implicated in respiratory dysfunction, including the conversion of respiratory cells to what appears to be a pre-cancerous state [5], it has not been causally linked with tobacco related cancers [6] such as lung, colon or rectal cancers. Recently, Hashibe et al [7] carried out an epidemiological analysis of marijuana smoking and cancer. A connection between marijuana smoking and lung or colorectal cancer was not observed. These conclusions are reinforced by the recent work of Tashkin and coworkers [8] who were unable to demonstrate a cannabis smoke and lung cancer link, despite clearly demonstrating cannabis smoke-induced cellular damage." Hardly reassuring.

On point 2), the gateway drug argument may be old, but that doesn't eliminate its validity. Tobacco, alcohol, and pot are often first steps on the road to nastier stuff for vulnerable folk, so best for those people to steer clear and not lie to themselves about the 'safety' of 'recreational' pot use in moderation.

On point 3), the data for a unidirectionally causal link between pot use and schizophrenia is growing stronger by the month, and is now at the point where it's utterly convincing. A review of the most recent literature at medical websites such as Medscape makes this very obvious, as did a recent Harvard psychiatry conference that I attended, where this was one of many issues discussed in a schizophrenia update.

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On point 3), the data for a unidirectionally causal link between pot use and schizophrenia is growing stronger by the month, and is now at the point where it's utterly convincing. A review of the most recent literature at medical websites such as Medscape makes this very obvious, as did a recent Harvard psychiatry conference that I attended, where this was one of many issues discussed in a schizophrenia update.

Question: Is there any theory as to why there may be a link? To what extent is it a matter of brain chemistry? To what extent is it a matter of the fears of being busted? Is it reversible by abstinence?

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On point 2), the gateway drug argument may be old, but that doesn't eliminate its validity. Tobacco, alcohol, and pot are often first steps on the road to nastier stuff for vulnerable folk, so best for those people to steer clear and not lie to themselves about the 'safety' of 'recreational' pot use in moderation.

But that argument applies to alcohol as well. The vulnerable may want to steer clear.

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Greg P   
On point 3), the data for a unidirectionally causal link between pot use and schizophrenia is growing stronger by the month, and is now at the point where it's utterly convincing. A review of the most recent literature at medical websites such as Medscape makes this very obvious, as did a recent Harvard psychiatry conference that I attended, where this was one of many issues discussed in a schizophrenia update.
There are a lot of studies out there, but I have yet to read anything that directly connects marijuana use as the cause of schizophrenia. Whether or not marijuana abuse can facilitate the onset of the disorder in those teenagers already genetically predisposed, is a different matter. Whether or not marijuana abuse can cause a psychosis that closely resembles schizophrenia's effect on the brain, is up for debate as well. There's this study and this one too showing positive cognitive effects of cannabis on patients with schizophrenia. I'm obviously no doctor or researcher, but I'm not aware of a single case of an adult over the age of say 25 or 30, developing schizophrenia after smoking weed.

I've worked with addicts in the inner city, off and on, since I was a teenager. It doesnt take a phD to realize that those with severe mental illness have a propensity to gravitate towards substance abuse. As an observer, the issue was always "which came first? The chicken or the egg?" Were people mentally ill because of drug abuse or did mentally ill just naturally lean towards easy means of escape from their disorders?

But all such chat is unnecessary, imo. I am addressing mature christians here and my first assumption is moderation, not abuse. If you abuse any recreational substance , be it alcohol or cannabis, you're gonna have a bad time. Abuse alcohol and you can die of alcohol poisoning. It is impossible to overdose on cannabis.

Edited by Greg P

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While I've seen it misapplied, I think the "stumbling block" argument against use is one of the more respectable arguments. If you drink, and if you have friends who are recovered alcoholics, drinking around them would be encouraging them to stumble into a past addiction that has the power to destroy their lives. If you use marijuana, and if you have friends who have abused it in the past, then using marijuana around them would encourage them back into addictive behavior that could destroy destroy careers and marriages.

Even at that can be very frustrating. As someone who barely consumes alcohol, and has never actually acheived drunkeness.... in my Christian days, I had friends from church who were in addiction recovery. And I never drank in front of them. One instance, a friend was over and saw two (unopened) beers in the back of the fridge. He shot me this look and used a that "you might have a problem" tone. And I probably did have a problem. I let two perfectly good beers sit in my fridge for two years (I had forgotten they were in there until my friend saw them).

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Attica   

Greg P said:

:I've worked with addicts in the inner city, off and on, since I was a teenager. It doesnt take a phD to realize that those with severe mental illness have a propensity to gravitate towards substance abuse.

I've worked with addicts as well, and this is *very* true.

:Abuse alcohol and you can die of alcohol poisoning. It is impossible to overdose on cannabis.

True. But what about the affects on ones body from all of those munchies. ;)

Thom Wade said:

:And I probably did have a problem. I let two perfectly good beers sit in my fridge for two years (I had forgotten they were in there until my friend saw them).

That is indeed problematic.

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Andrew   

On point 3), the data for a unidirectionally causal link between pot use and schizophrenia is growing stronger by the month, and is now at the point where it's utterly convincing. A review of the most recent literature at medical websites such as Medscape makes this very obvious, as did a recent Harvard psychiatry conference that I attended, where this was one of many issues discussed in a schizophrenia update.

Question: Is there any theory as to why there may be a link? To what extent is it a matter of brain chemistry? To what extent is it a matter of the fears of being busted? Is it reversible by abstinence?

My understanding is that it's thought to be fairly exclusively a matter of brain chemistry, and alas, not reversible by abstinence, though I strongly suspect that continued use will only aggravate the symptoms.

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Scientifically, I think the weight of the evidence seems to show that marijuana use is not physically addictive. But, that doesn't mean it can't be psychologically addictive. There are many different sorts of behavior and habits that can be psychologically addictive. And, as the country slowly gets around to legalization, I believe the church needs to make it clear that excessive use of any kind is at least in violation of the principle expressed in I Corinthians 6:12.

This psychological addiction is probably a bigger issue than we might realize, which is why holding these freedoms/gifts with an open hand is absolutely necessary. These sorts of addictions probably aren't found in a DSM-IV (though they might be; I haven't read the whole thing!) but certainly can be just as unhealthy and damaging.

A few questions that popped into my mind while reading through the thread: I'm wondering about the science/biology direction this conversation has taken, and it's connection with the original question about legality--are we saying that if the use of a substance is proven to cause any sort of brain chemistry alteration (at best) or psychological disorder and impairment (at worst), it should not be legal? Is the use, promotion, or allowance of such a substance considered sinful or morally wrong? If the use of marijuana was proven to be directly correlated to cancer or schizophrenia, would that change our thinking on "use in moderation?"

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Attica   

Joel Mayward said:

:If the use of marijuana was proven to be directly correlated to cancer or schizophrenia, would that change our thinking on "use in moderation?"

Well. Look at cigarettes. They're legal in our societies because they became ingrained in society before we found out how harmful they were. If they were to be introduced into society now, out of the blue with people knowing their damaging affects, then I can hardly believe that they would be legal or that people would say to use them in moderation.

Of course cannabis, as mentioned, is slightly different than cigarettes. But still, I'll throw out the example.

But then look at all of the foods that we eat, which we know aren't all that good for us, and many of which we know or highly suspect will help cause cancer, and surely have other health problems.

Edited by Attica

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Greg P   
A few questions that popped into my mind while reading through the thread: I'm wondering about the science/biology direction this conversation has taken, and it's connection with the original question about legality--are we saying that if the use of a substance is proven to cause any sort of brain chemistry alteration (at best) or psychological disorder and impairment (at worst), it should not be legal?
First, let's re-establish this-- there is absolutely no proof that marijuana use causes schizophrenia. There is data that indicates that persons with severe mental illness such as depression or schizophrenia tend to have a lifetime history of substance abuse disorders.(the "self-medication syndrome") And as a sidenote, nicotine is by far the most prevalent drug abused by schizophrenics and there is a much stronger causal link between sexual/ physical abuse in early childhood than there is with marijuana.

If --and that's a giant IF because there's been no clear evidence that I've seen presented--there's any causal link between marijuana and schizophrenia, it's most likely to be among those teenagers already predisposed to the disorder.

Some more debunking posted by marijuana supporters.

Millions and millions of responsible people smoke marijuana in moderation, raise families, have careers and live normal lives without collapsing into a delusional schizophrenic episode and i find much of the discussion about mental illness nothing more than fear-mongering. A person can smoke in moderation at home and go about their daily activities, without falling on the couch in a zombie-like stupor or tuning out of society.

So back to the initial point-- would marijuana use disqualify someone from Christian ministry? Should adults attending christian colleges/universities in Washington and Colorado be allowed to smoke off-campus?

Edited by Greg P

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Attica   

Greg P said:

:So back to the initial point-- would marijuana use disqualify someone from Christian ministry? Should adults attending christian colleges/universities in Washington and Colorado be allowed to smoke off-campus?

I think the conclusion we're coming to here is that if Cannabis is damaging to the body and mind, which as we've seen is open to debate, then it seems to be no more hazardous than cigarettes and alchohol, only possibly in different ways. Many Christian campus' have little problem with alchohol off campus, and to my knowledge none disallow cigarettes off campus.

So there isn't a clear argument against disallowing the responsible use of Cannabis in States where it's legal. So to my mind, even if its discouraged, there shouldn't be any real reprimand in the Universities towards people who are discovered using pot off campus, in these States.

But maybe the cautions presented should still be mentioned, so that people can weigh, study and consider them.

Edited by Attica

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Andrew   
First, let's re-establish this-- there is absolutely no proof that marijuana use causes schizophrenia. There is data that indicates that persons with severe mental illness such as depression or schizophrenia tend to have a lifetime history of substance abuse disorders.(the "self-medication syndrome") And as a sidenote, nicotine is by far the most prevalent drug abused by schizophrenics and there is a much stronger causal link between sexual/ physical abuse in early childhood than there is with marijuana.

If --and that's a giant IF because there's been no clear evidence that I've seen presented--there's any causal link between marijuana and schizophrenia, it's most likely to be among those teenagers already predisposed to the disorder.

Some more debunking posted by marijuana supporters.

Again, I would urge you to go to a medical site such as Medscape or search at Medline and look through the latest research reports. I personally find the information there much more convincing than your "debunking" link to a 2 yr old article on a website pushing for the legalization of marijuana. The evidence for a unidirectional link between marijuana use and schizophrenia onset grows stronger by the month; wishing it were otherwise doesn't make it so.

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Greg P   
Again, I would urge you to go to a medical site such as Medscape or search at Medline and look through the latest research reports. I personally find the information there much more convincing than your "debunking" link to a 2 yr old article on a website pushing for the legalization of marijuana. The evidence for a unidirectional link between marijuana use and schizophrenia onset grows stronger by the month; wishing it were otherwise doesn't make it so.

I've linked to a couple of papers already from Medline in this thread. Repeating that evidence is "growing stronger by the month" also doesn't make it so. Where is this slam dunk study?

I can assure you, if you abuse marijuana you're going to have a bad time. Some kids after abusing the substance will pass out and sleep. Others are likely to flip out, feel paranoid and horribly frightened and possibly think they're dying. Of course, they won't-- no one dies from marijuana abuse (I wish the same were true of alcohol) and "overdosing" on cannabis is not humanly possible (it's hard to think of another substance, food or chemical that you can say that about, but marijuana is certainly one)

But to some who freak out after abuse, the experience can be deeply traumatic. To a teenager already predisposed to severe mental illness, it's not a stretch to imagine this could trigger some possible negative neurological responses, Schizophrenia notwithstanding. I imagine anything traumatic could. Teenagers, substance abuse, predisposed mental illness-- sounds like a very bad recipe to me. No arguments here.

However, for the sake of this discussion I think it's essential to make a few miscellaneous points:

1) I believe the legal age for marijuana use should be 21-- the same as alcohol-- for reasons both biological and ethical/moral.

2) It is not difficult for an adult to be temperate with marijuana, even with more potent cannabis containing higher levels of THC. "One toke over the line" is a bit of a myth. For those adults with self control, the enjoyment of marijuana is no different than the enjoyment of good scotch, wine or beer. With moderation you do not "trip", you do not hallucinate or have psychotic episodes-- end of story. In fact, the insinuation that this is what awaits ALL users of cannabis eventually, is silly and smacks of prohibitionist fear-mongering. Smoking responsibly and moderately can provide a great deal of enjoyment, relaxation and peace of mind-- no different than a good wine at a dinner or single malt scotch among friends.

3) People with severe mental illness should not drink alcohol or smoke marijuana-- ever.

Edited by Greg P

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Greg P wrote:

: 1) I believe the legal age for marijuana use should be 21-- the same as alcohol-- for reasons both biological and ethical/moral.

Now this I *can't* agree with. Your drinking age shouldn't be as high as all that in the first place. (Oh, and aren't there one or two hold-out states that kept their drinking age lower, after Elizabeth Dole and her buddies blackmailed most of the other states into raising their drinking age?)

In any case, throughout the rest of the Americas, the legal drinking age is 18; the only other exceptions, besides the United States, seem to be Haita and Jamaica (where it is 16), Canada (where it is 19 in some provinces, but not all) and Paraguay (where it is 20). A drinking age of 21 is simply not normal for a culture with a basically European heritage.

(And if memory serves, during her presidential bid a dozen years ago, Elizabeth Dole said she'd be open to raising the drinking age again, perhaps as high as 25 -- gadzooks.)

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Attica   

Peter T Chattaway said:

:Now this I *can't* agree with. Your drinking age shouldn't be as high as all that in the first place.

Ha. I was thinking of saying something similar. It has always struck some of us Manitobans (where of course the age is 18) as bizarre that U.S. citizens could vote and be drafted or enter the army at 18 but couldn't legally drink until 21. I see it strikes some U.S. citizens as being strange as well.

But its good for the Canadian economy. I went to University in North Dakota and soon discovered that, at the time at least, a large number of 18 to 21 year olds regularly made the trip across the border to spend a weekend in Canadian bars.

Edited by Attica

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Josie   
So back to the initial point-- would marijuana use disqualify someone from Christian ministry? Should adults attending christian colleges/universities in Washington and Colorado be allowed to smoke off-campus?

It depends. For the sake of consistency, I'd say not if alcohol use didn't or wasn't allowed. But I assume that when private colleges take a position on the use of alcohol or (other) drugs, it reflects the position of the affiliate church? Hopefully people who can;t reconcile their faith with those rules find different schools and different ministries.

Just to clarify another point, I know there's a well-accepted link between certain hard-core, mind altering drugs and schizophrenia. And the current thinking is that in people who are predisposed to schizophrenia, use may trigger onset. But even there, I don't think we know enough yet to be absolutely sure.

Edited by Josie

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Peter T Chattaway said:

:Now this I *can't* agree with. Your drinking age shouldn't be as high as all that in the first place.

Ha. I was thinking of saying something similar. It has always struck some of us Manitobans (where of course the age is 18) as bizarre that U.S. citizens could vote and be drafted or enter the army at 18 but couldn't legally drink until 21. I see it strikes some U.S. citizens as being strange as well.

But its good for the Canadian economy. I went to University in North Dakota and soon discovered that, at the time at least, a large number of 18 to 21 year olds regularly made the trip across the border to spend a weekend in Canadian bars.

As to draft age and voting, I would expect that most states would still have a 21 year old voting age had it not been for the draft (now a thing of the past). During Vietnam, the discrepancy between the two led to an Amendment to constitution forcing states to allow 18 year olds to vote.

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Very interesting conversation so far.

I know myself I have a rather addictive personality. I have a rather strong caffiene/sugar addiction to coke, pepsi, mountain dew and some other sodas that I have never been able to kick. For this reason alone I stay away from alchohol and cigarettes. My friends back in MS would drink, and occasionally smoke cigars and I saw nothing wrong with it. Just can't partake in it myself. The same can be applied here to marijuana.

But as far as is it a sin or not. No, I don't think so...and I agree with Greg P on moderation, gateway drug, etc. It's not something I could personally do, but I don't think it should affect someone's walk or ministry as a Christian if they are moderate.

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So back to the initial point-- would marijuana use disqualify someone from Christian ministry? Should adults attending christian colleges/universities in Washington and Colorado be allowed to smoke off-campus?

Depends. A particular Christian ministry or Christian educational institution might make a rule that would not allow a person to use marijuana while participating in that ministry/school. I probably wouldn't agree with that rule, and it likely would be based more on cultural stigmas surrounding cannabis rather than Biblical principles. The Bible college I graduated from didn't allow alcohol consumption, on or off campus, for any student, whether of age or not. The rule has since changed because--and this sounds cynical but I believe it's true--the elderly (read: wealthy) donors who would have ceased to give funds to the school if they had lightened up on the alcohol rule either a. died or, b. weren't the financial heavyweights they once were, allowing the school administration to make some changes.

So...it depends.

Edited by Joel Mayward

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Greg P   

Here's a Reuters article from this week that shows how very fuzzy this whole cannabis/schizophrenia/chicken/egg phenomena is. According to the study cited, the link is perhaps bi-directional. Some teens who abused pot experienced psychosis, some teens who had forms of psychosis later abused pot. Anything but slam-dunk.

Previous research established links between marijuana and psychosis, but scientists questioned whether pot use increased the risk of mental illness, or whether people were using pot to ease their psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.

"What is interesting in this study is that both processes are going on at the same time," said Dr. Gregory Seeger, medical director for addiction services at Rochester General Hospital in upstate New York....

"That's a very vulnerable period of time for brain development," and individuals with a family history of schizophrenia and psychosis seem to be more sensitive to the toxic effects of THC, he said.

A 2010 study of 3,800 Australian teenagers found that those who used marijuana were twice as likely to develop psychosis compared to teens who never smoked pot (see Reuters Health article of March 1, 2010 here:).

But that study also found that those who suffered from hallucinations and delusions when they were younger were also more likely to use pot early on.

The second part of the above equation is conveniently left out of the prohibitionist's mantra -- namely that those teens with mental illness tended to gravitate towards substance abuse to alleviate their psychosis.

One conclusion that I think everyone can agree on: teens should not use the substance, moderately or not.

Edited by Greg P

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One conclusion that I think everyone can agree on: teens should not use the substance, moderately or not.

Yup. Agreed.

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