Recent trends in the direction of the full-scale legalization of marijuana suggest that pot is undergoing a dramatic marketing makeover.
One cannabis branding firm put it this way: “There is a huge untapped market here. It’s about reaching nonconsumers: women, young people, business professionals, grandmothers and soccer moms.” Get ready: If it hasn’t already, your favorite show will probably feature marijuana in a way that makes it feel cool—whether in a joint, a pot-tart, a keefcat or a pot-brownie.
This means that Christians will need to think more carefully about marijuana than most of us have until now. Not everyone will consume pot, but most everyone will be in a position to advise someone who is considering it.
With this in mind, here are five questions to ask before you consume pot.
1. Is It Legal?
One of God’s gifts to us in human government is the regulation of certain socially corrosive behaviors (Romans 13:1–7). The state should not regulate every bad behavior, and so there are many things that are legal that are not therefore ethical. But certain behaviors are regulated, and that’s a good thing. So while more goes into the question of whether we should smoke pot than its legality, this is nevertheless a vital place to start since Christian discipleship means being honorable and obedient citizens.
At present, a number of states have made marijuana legal for medical use, and two states have made it legal for recreational use. However, Christians should be aware that under federal law marijuana is still illegal to buy, sell, possess or use. This is why, for example, an employer can still fire someone for consuming pot even in off hours, and why the federal government can prosecute a person for its possession, though such prosecution would rarely happen in the case of an individual.
2. What Will It Do to Me?
This question has to do with our relationship to our own bodies. Of course, our bodies are not merely our bodies. They were made for God’s glory, and they were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:12–20). For this reason, as with anything we consume, we should want to know what it will do to us. For some, this question has an easy answer: It gives you a buzz! But how? The buzz comes from THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a psychoactive, mind-altering and intoxicating chemical.
It’s true that marijuana is not as dangerous as harder drugs, and for that reason it is often suggested that marijuana is actually more like alcohol. But we should be careful with this comparison. Alcohol in moderate amounts has many desirable effects, including benefits to one’s health. But in excessive amounts, Scripture teaches what we know from observation, that drunkenness “takes away understanding” and leads to “poverty,” “sorrow” and “strife” (Hosea 4:11; Proverbs 23:20–21, Proverbs 23.29–35″>29–35). For this reason, while human societies have nearly universally celebrated alcohol, they have also adopted social norms to regulate its use.