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Christian Leaders Offer Reasons for Legalizing Marijuana (or Not)

Christian Leaders Give Input on Marijuana Use

Even though the passage of the MORE Act in the House appears as though it will be symbolic, it is indicative of an important conversation happening in our country. According to data collected by pastor and political scientist Ryan Burge, significant percentages of Americans support decriminalizing cannabis. These numbers include “half of evangelical Republicans…along with the same share of white Catholic Republicans.” 

XXXchurch founder Craig Gross, who launched Christian Cannabis last year, believes the church needs to be talking about its position on marijuana. “I think the church loses its influence when we avoid topics that the rest of the world is talking about,” said Gross on the ChurchLeaders Podcast.

Thankfully, some Christian leaders are in fact having the conversation and offering their perspectives. In an article entitled, “Who would legalizing recreational marijuana hurt?” Pastor Dan Trippie argues against those who make a case for decriminalization “based on pragmatics” or who say that “prohibition does not work.” 

“Advocates for decriminalization contend that laws just don’t work—no amount of regulation will stop free people from indulging,” he said. But Trippie contends that “laws do more than simply restrict behaviors. Laws also commend the type of conduct that we want to encourage.” Because cannabis is a mind-altering substance, the pastor believes that making it legal would encourage people to escape from reality so that they no longer engage with their lives or with the injustice in the world.

Dent disagrees. “Just because something can be harmful, immoral, or sinful doesn’t mean people should be put in jail for it,” she said. “We already recognize this for a host of behaviors from tobacco use to adultery to coveting our neighbor’s new car. Marijuana use can negatively impact a person’s life, just like a host of legal substances and behaviors can. But under prohibition, we have harm from the substance as well as the additional harms of prohibition. Under legal regulation we still have harm from the substance, but we end the additional harms of prohibition.”