Southgate

Blog #380: Christians and Cannabis

I will always remember October 17th, 2018. My daughter had lived in Taiwan for 8 years prior to that day and it was in that wonderful country that she developed a love for Bubble Tea. In any case, October 17th was her birthday and so she had asked if we could get some Bubble Tea for the occasion. I agreed and we drove to her favourite Taiwanese Bubble Tea shop in a trendy area of our city. Rounding the corner to get to the parking lot, though, we came across a line-up of about 500 20–40-year-olds. We wondered what was going on, while noting that there was nobody in that lineup of any skin colour than ours: white. As we slowly found our way to a parking spot, we saw where they were all going: a newly opened Cannabis Shop. We realized that the federal Cannabis Act had come into effect that day, making Canada the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalize the cultivation, possession, acquisition, and consumption of cannabis and its by-products. Canada was the first G7 and G20 nation to do so. I gave my daughter my opinion of what we were seeing, “That is your generation. Those are your peers. It is a lost generation.” And, then I proceeded to tell her about the secular job I was involved with in which none of the immigrants I worked at that job were recreational drug users whereas many of the Caucasians I worked with took drugs, causing trouble for our company, their families, and their health.

I am no expert on cannabis and so, admittedly, I write with a good deal of ignorance on this topic. I will say, though, that I have friends and relatives who take cannabis in the form of CBD oil under a physician’s guidance. From them, and from the reading I have done, I have come to see that, just as doctors prescribe all sorts of medicines to help people cope with constant pain, that cannabis can be used (under the oversight of a physician) to provide relief to people suffering extreme pain. Such usage is beneficial, and it is good that it is legal. The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction website explains, “Cannabis extracts refers to a broad range of products that generally contain higher levels of cannabinoids than are found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis that can affect your mind and body when consumed. (Whereas) THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the best-known cannabinoid and the one that makes an individual euphoric and intoxicated (or high), CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that might have some therapeutic benefit” (but, then cautions) “although more research is needed to confirm its potential medical use.”

So, with this blog, my concern is thus not about approved and guided medical usage of cannabis but about its recreational usage. I agree with this statement, “Presumably, no one adds marijuana to brownies because it improves their flavor. The reason to add this particular plant to foodstuffs is because of its effect on senses other than taste.” (Joe Carter, January 6, 2014, The Gospel Coalition Blog)

This begs the question, “So, is there a problem with that?” In response, I will share that I have a police officer friend who has told me about the issue the police to deal with because of the recreational usage of cannabis: DUI’s, intoxication, family fights over the spending of money on drugs, etc. As well, the police in our city stated that a major impetus being them taking down the so-called “tent cities” in our city was that the drug gangs had largely taken control of them, causing misery. So, yes, there are problems, as well as the ones I told my daughter about in the workplace I was in.

As Christians, we believe that our body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1st Corinthians 6:19,20). If we truly are followers of the Lord and worshipers of Him, then what He has to say about the way we treat our bodies should matter. 1 Corinthians 6:13 states that the body is meant “for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” Our bodies were thus designed to be instruments for God’s use and His glory. We should strive not to dull or diminish or weaken our God-given physical and mental capacities which were created with the intention of glorifying and serving God. The only external power to which we should yield conscious control over our minds and our bodies is the Holy Spirit of God. The apostle Paul writes, “Do not get drunk with wine (could the same be true for cannabis?)…but be filled (or, “drunk”) with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). This issue is not about stifling fun, or taking away free will, but about taking care of our bodies and minds and doing what is beneficial, healthy, and helpful for both us and society. A regular recreational usage of cannabis for the purpose of getting “high” is simply problematical. That’s how I see it…

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