The ongoing push to legalize recreational marijuana in all fifty states is a very clever juke move on the part of the progressive left. It certainly looks like an expansion of personal liberty, but it doesn’t smell that way at all. Liberty smells like crisp mountain air, right next to a glacier-fed lake. Legalized pot smells like something sweet and sticky coming out of that particularly seedy basement apartment, with the only redeeming feature being the fact that it is strong enough to overcome the smell of urine on the landing.
Okay, I thought of another advantage. Since the demands of socialism appear to de rigueur these days, getting stoned out of your gourd will be a great advantage for those who want to be able to follow the economic arguments advanced by the socialists. So there’s also that.
I bring all this up because this week marks the release of my latest book, with the cover up there on the right. The title of the book is Devoured by Cannabis, and the subtitle is Weed, Liberty, and Legalization. To fill in the blanks for you, I am against weed, for liberty, and against legalization. I am also marking this post with the tag retractions, because there have been times in the past when I have written in a somewhat friendlier vein in favor of decriminalization, but have since changed my mind. The thing that caused me to change my mind was extended seasons of incessant prayer.
Sins and Crimes
Is it a sin to smoke pot? I argue in this book that it is, and that Christians should have nothing to do with it. But if it is a sin, should it also be a crime? There are plenty of sins that shouldn’t be crimes out there, activities that are clearly sinful, but we don’t want legislation against them with civil penalties applied. Covetousness is a sin, but who wants to establish the covetousness police? Lust is a sin, but who wants a Lust Patrol? Angry looks at the driver ahead of you is plainly sinful in the eyes of God, but no sane person wants a Department for Monitoring Deportment on the Interior of Motorized Vehicles (DMDIMV).
So even if getting stoned is a sin, does it follow that it should be against the law? The answer to that question is yes, but such a response does require an explanation., along with some qualifications.. That is what I argue for in this book, but only after establishing the biblical basis for identifying pot smoking as a sin. At the same time, the punishment should always fit the crime, and it has to be acknowledged that a good deal of our current war on drugs is frankly demented. Pot goes to some people’s heads, and power goes to other people’s. So that must be factored in as well.
So Anyways . . .
What are we to do in the meantime? It is unlikely—let us be frank—that anybody in authority is going to buy my book, and take any of my recommendations seriously. We should brace ourselves, therefore, for a continued push for the legalization of pot, and for harder drugs after that, and for everything that follows whenever an enervated people have determined that they want to live like the lotus-eaters.
So how should Christians live in the meantime?
One of the things that Christians must do is come to grips with the realization that Americans love their sin. We can see this plainly in the entirely different responses to states that have disregarded federal marijuana law, on the one hand, versus what would happen to any state that dared to disregard federal requirements with regard to abortion. On paper, it should be just as easy to do one as to do the other, right?
Right, on paper. But in our day, the police power of the civic order, whether federal, state, or municipal, is always at the ready when it comes to protecting our lusts. There is a residual federal law against marijuana, true enough, but states can disregard it with impunity. If you want to know where the real law is, then just look for where the real enforcement is. Then there is a SCOTUS-derived right to abortion, but states could not disregard that with impunity. This looks like a contradiction, and it is a contradiction on the surface, but there is also a deep consistency there.
The consistency is found in the fact that Americans love their sin, and if anything threatens their access to their lust, there is sure to be a creative legal argument that will come to the defense of that sin. That argument could be for or against enforcement of the law as written, but in our time (a time of diseased cultural disintegration), the enforcement will always be in order to protect and guard the right to the sin.
Abortion is the blood sacrament of a sinful and sinning people. Pot-smoking does not have as exalted a place in the liturgy of Chemosh, but it does have its place. It is the incense that does what incense is designed to do in every temple that offers blood sacrifice. All such temples are slaughterhouses, and so the incense is there to cover up the smell of the sacrificial victims. That, and to deaden the consciences of the priests and worshipers.
It is not possible for a nation to be as wicked as we have become without the consciences of millions being swollen, inflamed and on fire. We have people swanking around like they were paragons of vir . . . well, actually, nobody can be a paragon of virtue if there is no such thing as virtue. But they can be paragons of virtue-signaling, which has the advantage of having a lot less moral effort involved. And you do have do a lot of such signaling to keep that conscience of yours distracted.
This is what accounts for the frantic moralistic crusading of the climate johnnies. This is why we have such fierce denunciations of the slightest whiff of white supremacy—and by white supremacy, of course, I mean the continued belief that the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. What color was Pythagoras, people? Do I have to spell it out? And this is why people who voted for someone who supports the dismemberment and sale of little black babies can feel morally superior to old Charleston slave traders, which is, of course, ridiculous on the face.
Like I said, anyone with a Biden sticker on their car is the moral inferior of Stonewall Jackson.
John Adams, On Point
I have quoted John Adams on this issue many times, and will no doubt have occasion to quote him again to the same effect. Our Constitution presupposes a moral and a religious people. It is wholly unfit, he said, for any other.
You cannot build a free republic out of drug addicts. You cannot maintain one with a citizenry of fornicating potheads. You cannot do it with sex slaves. You cannot march into a free and prosperous future when all you can think about is the dopamine hit from your next porn click.
Why is the state spending all this effort to forge these liberty chains for us? It is because they don’t want a free republic of free men and free women. Docile subjects in a haze are more to their liking.
My hope is that this book will do something to help clear the haze.
Cannabis: Doubtless I should read the book before asking these questions, but they are generic and fundamental, perhaps even logical. 1) How does smoking cannabis differ from smoking tobacco? 2) How does smoking cannabis differ from drinking beer? Whiskey? 3) How does smoking cannabis differ from shooting guns? 4) Does the abuse of a thing negate the use of it? 5) Does the tendency of a morally bereft culture to abuse a thing prevent or override the proper, controlled, and constructive use of it? 6) Is the use of cannabis inherently sinful? 7) Is the use of cannabis to make… Read more »
This won’t answer all of your questions, but it does address some of them:
1) Not mind-altering in the real sense of the word. 2) With alcohol there is a “range of moderation”, so you can consume some before you reach the state of drunkenness that is a sin. With mind-altering drugs, any non-de-minimus amount will put you in that sinful state. 3) It is a sin (and for more reasons than I’ve just mentioned above). 4) Sin is abuse. 5) There is no constructive use of it. 6) Yes. Another reason: When you are consuming mind-altering drugs you are seeking to escape the reality that God has created. You are rejecting God. 7)… Read more »
On the advice of a board-certified neurologist, I use medical marijuana to relieve the pain and nausea of chronic migraine. I have never been tempted to increase the dose–which is more than I can say for narcotic pain medications–and I can go days on end without needing it. I have never been tempted to take it to improve my mood or escape from the reality of my situation or simply gaze slack-jawed into space. The most important thing one tablet does for me is stop the vomiting which, untreated, does very nasty things to my electrolytes. My neurologist didn’t arrive… Read more »
Using medical marijuana for pain, seizures, etc. is very different than legalizing it for recreational use. That said, making it a controlled substance certainly won’t stop others from using it recreationally, as they’ve done for decades. It’s a tough issue. My take is the 10th Amendment: let the states decide. But if parts of your state reeks of pot (as I’ve heard about CO and WA), I won’t be visiting. I can’t stand the smell!
She was at a royal drama academy in the UK but she got COVID and hasn’t really recovered after a year. She couldn’t go back to school for her final year. She’s getting intensive pulmonary therapy to try to fix her lungs. People like her are called COVID long-haulers–it’s only been in the last three months that she’s even out of bed most of the time. If we can get her well enough, she can finish her program next year.
You seem to be the person who loves his sins which Doug Wilson spoke of.
(((old Charleston slave traders)))
The approach for us at this point should be to assume that America in its current form is finished and start building up our own communities, networks, and social capital. Doug talks about America as if it were a “nation” in any meaningful sense and then refers to it in the first person. I disagree. We just live here. There is no coherent culture or society, just a bunch of people and tribes, many of whom are fundamentally incompatible, occupying the same territory. Instead of trying to slow the inevitable demise of America (or even worse, tut-tut at those responsible),… Read more »
Mr. Armin, I think I agree, and have felt that way for a long time, though there is a fairly large part of me that wishes that weren’t so. Most big multiethnic countries are bound to fall at some point, and America is more likely to fall faster because, as you said, many of the people and tribes are fundamentally incompatible (which makes it different from a country like Switzerland, where they have Germans, Italians, and Frenchmen, or even Russia, with 80% Russian and the rest being mostly Slavs, Turks (including Christian Turks such as Chuvashes) and Finno-Ugrics, all which… Read more »
I think the best thing we can do is focus on our individual circumstances. We should be building up our own local communities and networks – reconstructing the social capital that has been hollowed out over the decades as a result of diversity, economic globalization, mass entertainment, the destruction of the family, church, etc. We may have to adopt a more “tribal” mindset than we’re used to or comfortable with. In my opinion, devoting ourselves to informal, high-trust local organizations with people of like mind is a much better use of our time and energy than trying to figure out… Read more »
One area of consideration is if other nations won’t take an interest in America if it weakens sufficiently. There are more unified nations that might take an interest in some territorial expansion and mop up the divided peoples in the taking.
I’ve heard various “we gotta do this for national security!” arguments my entire life, and am pretty much done with them. Whether it’s warning against Balkanization/secession or why we should have an (unconstitutional) standing army deployed all over the world, they’re always based on fear and protecting the status quo. With our current trajectory, China will more or less own us anyway. The one thing China has always feared is facing a heavily-armed U.S. populace–but Xiden & Co. would love to do away with that.
My small town in rural mid-America is one of many starting to be infiltrated by the weed industry. Pot farms and warehouses, providing wonderful wages and a booming economic revival for your podunk town! they say. I’ll take any ammunition I can to help push back on this type of incursion. While not neglecting to push out and build on our own.
Yes, and mind-altering drugs are a force multiplier for sin because they remove some of the inhibitions to sin.
Legalize it! Regulate it! Tax it!
Colorado and Washington have followed your advice. What has occurred is:
*only people without criminal records can get a license to sell. Those with records can’t get a license, so the keep selling, business as usual. Minorities are allowed to run very few marijuana places in Colorado
*Illegal sellers are are now just tax dodgers. They sell marijuana much cheaper than a legal store. business as usual.
Denver’s newspaper ran an article on this awhile back.
But that’s because of the incredibly short-sighted (and totally un-Christian) policy of not allowing people with criminal records to make an honest living, and that problem is far from unique to the pot industry. Our society has over-criminalized so much behavior, and refuses to give people second chances. They’re not going to starve to death; they’ve got to do something. So there’s now this whole underclass of people who’ve been shut out of most of the economy, doing what they have to do to survive.
Kathleen, you are off base again. You don’t give bank jobs to bank robbers or have dope peddlers working in pharmacies or pot shops.
Did you ever finish your thesis on how current American welfare is not theft but meets the letter of biblical doctrine?
I think you may have accidentally assumed somewhat more than Kathleen said. She was referring to criminal records in general, not to obviously relevant criminal records. As I understand it, having any criminal record at all is such a big red flag (scarlet letter, perhaps?) that many places won’t even consider you for hiring, renting, or presumably getting a business loan or mortgage; it’s not worth the trouble of trying to figure out if the person’s crime has any direct bearing on their ability to carry out the specific responsibilities. Any known risk at all is a risk that some… Read more »
It is easy to have a feeling of compassion for an ex-convict who can’t find an apartment but those are just cheap feelings. If you try to put your money where your feelings are, you will see why it is not injustice at all. Ex-cons are, by orders of magnitude, significantly more willing to disregard contracts, obligations, moral duties, and cause unnecessary damage to people and property. You cannot do anything about reintegrating them into society without also considering how society is going to compensate for the risks imposed just by being in the vicinity of this person. Pretending there… Read more »
Anne, I’ll preface this by admitting that at present I have no skin in the game (since I have no house or job to offer any ex-con), and it’s impractical for me to have any in the medium future. That said, strictly speaking this is an ad hominem fallacy, and my lack of current stake cannot disprove an otherwise valid and sound argument. You hypothesize that I would change my tune if it came to me; I don’t think I should and have some reasonable hope that I wouldn’t, but there’s no way to be sure. Is there risk in… Read more »
Nathan, when do today’s criminals pay restitution to those he injured? Kathleen is off base and still can’t produce any straight line thoughts concerning how the Bible should be applied in our government, businesses, churches and homes. You are correct in pointing out that prisons are not doing well in correcting behavior, but there is a much larger problem in how our laws do not follow biblical instructions. Ex-cons do have problems following laws and regulations. That is why, in general, they have such a bad reputation after release. America has serious problems in all areas of our laws and… Read more »
Why are you assuming these ex-cons are Christians? Also, I don’t see any command or hint of an idea in 1cor6 that we are to ‘accept certain risks, especially financial ones, and eat the costs’. The verses are telling people to turn from their former selves and the sins they once embraced. It has no positive command for the church, much less the community, to pretend that former actions never occurred or that the newly out are entitled to the same perqs that those with blameless reputations have. “So an attitude of “you were a criminal once, we don’t want… Read more »
Nothing could be a clearer command to eat financial losses than Paul instructing the Corinthians to let themselves be cheated rather than rely on pagan “justice” to recoup losses. (Or do you take it that the Corinthians were intended to stop making deals with fellow believers since it would be too risky? That does not seem like a good reading.) I’m glad to discover for the first time that you are willing to accept conversion, or time since release, as risk reduction factors, but you should recognize that most landlords and bosses put little or no stock in either of… Read more »
Can we street the decision of whether to take on the risk should be up to the individual? And not government mandated?
I’m not sure what you mean by “street” (typo?), but I would absolutely oppose any kind of government mandate to trust ex-cons more. The government’s role in this should be strictly limited to stopping the existing ways they are making the problem worse.
It’s not just a criminal record that keeps minorities out of the business. Start-up costs for a dispensary in California can be as high as $250,000. Ongoing operating expenses can be as high as $70,000 a month for a good-sized dispensary. Because of federal regulations, you can’t get financing from major banks and you’re not eligible for small business loans from any financial institution that is FDIC-insured. Equity financing is a fairly common way to get started. but it certainly requires good credit.
Taxing and regulating obviate the benefits of legalization. If something is highly taxed and regulated, there will still be an active black market. Witness Oxycontin.
No one addressed the other issue. An illegal dealer pays no sales tax, so the dealer can charge less than a pot store.
Wow, so money is more important than morality? As long as we make money on it then sin is ok?
We accept that the government raises revenue from activities some people think are sinful. Many Christians think any use of alcohol is sinful, but they’re not advocating a return to Prohibition. They might actually approve of high taxes on alcohol in the hope that some people will be deterred from excessive consumption. A belief that something is sinful is no longer enough to be the basis of secular law once that belief is no longer held by legislators and a majority of the general public. Marijuana was legalized in my state not by the legislature but by a majority vote… Read more »
I received my copy today and the packaging smelled like weed…another joke by ol’ Doug and friends or a product of living in CO? I may never know…
Can one assume at some point in your argument in the book, you cover the requirement that the believer retain control of his faculties (e.g., not getting drunk, not giving control to other spirits, etc) as the foundational reason why even something that is typically minor in its ability to alter one’s state of consciousness, is technically forbidden? Short of that, I see no other reason why utilizing a plant or any of its parts for one’s own enjoyment would be against God’s law (including its new testament expression in the commands of Christ and his apostles).
The analogy to the grape would, I think, be the, er, low-hanging fruit here. The Bible is explicit that drunkenness is a sin. Intoxication from different plant derivatives (beer, cocaine, pot, et cetera) seems similar enough in obvious ways to fall under the same prohibition. Hence, forbidden. The extension of the principle to cover marijuana is straightforward, so the burden of proof lies heavily on the one who wants wiggle out of what Scripture obviously teaches.
If a Christian believes that alcohol is sinful because it is potentially an intoxicant, then he or she will also believe that any marijuana use is sinful on the same grounds. But if a Christian believes that it’s legitimate to drink alcohol and stop well short of drunkenness, I don’t see why that Christian wouldn’t apply the same moral reasoning to marijuana use that stops well short of an equivalent level of impairment. Most people who enjoy a glass of Scotch don’t claim they only care about the taste. They also enjoy the sensation of mild relaxation and heightened conviviality.… Read more »
The argument that Doug makes is that the level of use “below impairment” doesn’t exist, or if it does, no one uses it that way. It doesn’t taste great, it doesn’t go with your meal in an enhancing sense, etc.
Jill, the problem is one toke over the line. Mind altering drugs make you drunk as soon as they enter your body’s system. Alcohol doesn’t make you drunk with one drink.
So, you’re saying there is no such thing as a small enough quantity that will make your heart glad and NOT make you spinny-eyed with all the vacuous emptiness of space?
I don’t see that much difference between distilled alcohol and marijuana myself, except maybe marijuana is less dangerous. As long as a doctor prescribed it I would not think it was sinful to take marijuana specifically to treat a condition diagnosed by the doctor. I would think it was sinful to take marijuana, or any tranquilizer that can legally be prescribed, apart from a doctor’s legal prescription, and just because it feels good. There *might* be an argument that there is a qualitative difference between something that sharpens the mind and enhances ability and something that dulls the mind and… Read more »
Yeah, regardless of where you come down on this, I doubt anyone wants their local area to become a weed mecca. Like I said earlier, the smell alone would prompt me to move.
The smell is hard to take for a lot of people. It’s illegal to smoke weed in public in California but people do it. Where I live it is illegal to smoke tobacco cigarettes in rental units, on the beach, in parks, within 20 feet of any restaurant or store, anywhere near a school, hospital, or government building, or in a car if a child under 18 is present. In Beverly Hills they fine you for smoking on a deserted street. I think there needs to be as much fervor about insisting that pot smokers keep it indoors.
“I think our attitudes toward medication can be very odd. As long as a doctor has prescribed it, we don’t think it sinful to take a tranquilizer to calm our nerves or an Adderall to focus our distracted minds and add a few points to our performance IQ. No one criticizes the person who says “I can’t think straight, let alone talk to people, before I’ve had at least two cups of coffee.” But when it comes to marijuana, all bets are off.”‘ For what it’s worth, I think those are examples of chemical dependence and all bad, perhaps sinful.… Read more »
No Jill. There is a range of moderation with alcohol before one reaches the state of drunkenness that is a sin. There is no range with mind-altering drugs; they affect the mind directly. That’s why they don’t talk about body weight in relation to drugs like they do with alcohol.
Lance, I think you are simply incorrect in your toxicology. Alcohol very effectively crosses the blood brain barrier. THC crosses that barrier slowly and effects the mind more slowly and less directly. Also, every drug has a dose response relationship, at a low enough level the effects will not be noticed and as the concentration increases the effects will become more pronounced. Like alcohol THC is quantified based on the concentration in a user’s blood. For instance, Washington state has a driving limit of 5 nanograms/milliliter of blood, and if you heard anything about the George Floyd trial there was… Read more »
Be that as it may–and perhaps it’s just cultural–but I’ve yet to meet anyone who has a few tokes with a nice dinner and stops. Some people may only smoke weed occasionally. Of those who do, I’ve never met one who didn’t get stoned when they partake. Theoretically, it’s possible, but responsible/social alcohol use has been around since Biblical times. The fact you can eat good food and appropriately paired alcoholic beverages has a lot to do with that, I think. Marijuana comes with baggage and expectations that have been around since at least the Reefer Madness days. I’ve heard… Read more »
JP, I’m not shilling for marijuana, I don’t use it and I’m not planning to start. However, my experience with habitual users is that they follow a similar path to alcohol users. Teenagers and college kids tend to use until they are maximally intoxicated and older more mature people are more likely to be moderate. The fact that it is/has been illegal and at least somewhat stigmatized changes the user base, as well. I’m no libertarian. If the government believes that marijuana use is bad for the body politic, and they are willing to do what it takes to stop/slow… Read more »
I agree with you that there doesn’t need to be a national policy about this, and I think that the best route for a state considering legalization is a ballot proposition put to the voters. Attempting to ban marijuana use when a majority of even non-users support legalization just breeds disrespect for the law. No one other than a hard core libertarian supports the legalization of crystal meth because its dangers are spectacularly evident. Even if you could cut out the dealers and let people buy it at government dispensaries, you couldn’t make its effects less deadly for the majority… Read more »
Does the book address medical marijuana as well (or just recreational cannabis)?
Well said. I have a question though. I normally watch this on YouTube. It is Tuesday and has not yet been released on youtube or either I can’t find it. It wasn’t censored was it?
Emily, no, it wasn’t censored. I just had a crazy busy Monday, and couldn’t record first thing in the morning like I usually do. That had to wait until late afternoon — but it should be there now.
I haven’t read the book and cannot therefore respond to anything in it. But the article above calls marijuana legalization ” a very clever juke move on the part of the progressive left.” Given that marijuana legalization was approved in 2020 by voters in Mississippi and South Dakota, I would suggest that the legalization movement encompasses more than just “the progressive left.”
Legalization is supported by the libertarian right as well as by a lot of aging boomers with bad backs and arthritic knees!
Legalization and medical legalization are distinct issues, though.
“Legalization and medical legalization are distinct issues, though.”
I mentioned this early in the comments but the two have been conflated quite a bit.
Well, with a lot of the libertarian left.
As a guy who has responsibly used cannabis and hemp-based products nearly daily for the past decade for medical conditions, sleep, sports performance, relaxation and creativity, I look forward to reading this book. I believe that it is one of the most interesting and useful plants that God created (and far safer/less problematic than, say, alcohol), but I’ll be curious to read Doug’s take on it.
It’s a sin, therefore any use is abuse. Unlike alcohol there is no range of moderation with mind-altering drugs. you are automatically in the state of drunkenness that is a sin.
Interesting that the author cites the Constitution but fails to note that there is no basis in the Constitution for a marijuana prohibition. The prohibition against alcohol required constitutional amendments to impose and to repeal. The Marijuana prohibition should have required the same.
If Christians think smoking pot is a sin, they should not smoke pot.
There is no basis in the Constitution for a prohibition on fully automatic weapons, yet it is illegal for any private civilian to own any fully automatic weapons manufactured after 1986.
There is no Constitutional basis for virtually all the gun control laws we have in this country. There are no Constitutional amendments requiring the myriad regulations and prohibitions on firearms we currently have.
If you think owning a gun is a sin, then you should not own a gun.
I love how Chairman Xiden said he can’t imagine why anyone would need a 20-round gun magazine….just as violent mobs were burning, looting and even shooting National Guardsmen (why aren’t they being called domestic terrorists?). Another big mob gathered in front of someone’s house and vandalized it. So large violent mobs are just fine, but the one equalizer a law-abiding citizen or family can own to defend themselves isn’t. I think we know where this is going…. And it sure would’ve gotten worse if the mobs weren’t appeased by the verdict they wanted…almost like a crazed tribe of savages being… Read more »
What does the Word say? It gives more warnings about alcohol than anything else (manufactured spirits). Forbidden Plants? Not really, save the one tree. But, men will make hard points where the Word never does. But, the Inner-light received from prayer is absolute.
“Two fingers of peat-smoked spirit for me; some heavy Manicheanism for you,” said the Priest.
I can not wait to read your book! I think a few copies for the local library, my state’s governing authorities, some family members, church library, etc…are necessary!
Thank you for tackling this. I smoked for 5 years, convinced that I was winning some sort of battle for christian liberty while I giggled and vegged out and generally failed to make the most of my 20s.
Quitting was the single best decision of my adult life, and once one sees the difference between that lifestyle and the drug free lifestyle, it simply cannot be unseen: the marks of ennui, childishness, vacancy, and overall personal and societal decay are self-evident to anyone who hasn’t been trained to feel bad for looking.