Not What They Told You – Marijuana

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Jeremiah 5:21-31


I.         It sounds noble

            A.        We need to legalize medical marijuana!

                        1.         But instead of controlled studies where the effectiveness of a derivative drug is analyzed for its benefits versus its harm, the door is thrown wide open.

                        2.         There is an oil extract from marijuana that does appear to benefit some sufferers of epilepsy, but does this justify use for any claimed illness?

            B.        As of 2018, marijuana is legalized in some form for medical use in 31 states. []

                        1.         7 of those states allow marijuana to be used in schools for medical purposes.

            C.        As of 2018, it is legal for recreational use in 8 states.

                        1.         Wait a minute! Wasn’t the argument about its medical use?

II.        Marijuana was portrayed as relatively harmless

            A.        Advocates of marijuana argued that legalizing marijuana would give police more time to crack down on “serious” drugs.

                        1.         The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana

                        2.         “Almost 50 percent of Denver arrestees tested positive for marijuana.”

            B.        Often statistics and studies are cited from the 1960's and 1970's.

                        1.         “The average strength of today’s marijuana is five to six times what it was in the 1960s and 1970s, and upwards of 10 to 20 times stronger than in the past.” [Cully Stimson, “Why Legalizing Pot Is a Bad Idea,” The Daily Signal, 30 Nov 2014].

            C.        Adults should be able to do as they please. It won’t be sold to kids.

                        1.         “Among 12th graders, 6 percent continue to report daily use, which corresponds to about 1 in 16 high school seniors. Among all grades, perceptions of harm and disapproval around marijuana use continue to decrease” [“Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends,” NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2017].

                        2.         While cigarette smoking has decreased, marijuana smoking has gradually increased. Currently (2017) more students smoke marijuana daily than smoke cigarettes daily.

                        3.         In 2015 Colorado ranked third in the nation for youths between 12 and 17 using marijuana

                                    a.         Drug related school suspensions increased 40% in 2013, compared to 2008

                                    b.         In 2017, over 18% of high school seniors report that they drove while high on marijuana in the last 30 days.

                        4.         Marijuana use by students in 2015 was 25% in Nebraska versus 39% nationwide.

            D.        In surveys done in Colorado and Washington, two early adopters of recreational use of marijuana, the users said “they felt their habit did not impair their ability to drive and, in some cases, improved it.” [“Drugs rival alcohol risks on roads,” The Washington Post, October 3, 2015]

                        1.         Marijuana-related traffic accidents have risen in Colorado and Washington

                        2.         Prior to legalization, about half of all fatal traffic accident drivers had THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in their blood stream. That is disturbing alone, but after legalization it is now 85% of the drivers [Warren Smith Cole, “Going to Pot?” October 2015, World Magazine].

                        3.         “Pot-positive traffic fatalities have gone up 100 percent since voters legalized pot in Colorado. This is true despite the fact that overall traffic fatalities in Colorado have gone down since 2007.” [Cully Stimson, “Why Legalizing Pot Is a Bad Idea,” The Daily Signal, 30 Nov 2014].

            E.        Marijuana-related emergency room visits have increased 57 percent from 2011-2013.

                        1.         “Marijuana-related hospitalizations has increased 82 percent since 2008" [Cully Stimson, “Why Legalizing Pot Is a Bad Idea,” The Daily Signal, 30 Nov 2014].

            F.        It was argued that the black market for marijuana sales would disappear once it was legalized – but they are still there. [Joe Duggan, “Legal pot a bad idea, Colorado officer says”, Omaha World-Herald, 13 Nov 2015].

                        1.         It is actually costing more to track down the illegal sales because the legal sales muddies the waters.

III.       Effects of Marijuana

            A.        “There is a reason it is classified as a Schedule I controlled dangerous substance, right along with heroin, LSD, and ectasy. The American Medical Association, the American Lung Association, and other reputable doctors and scientist all reject legalization.” [Cully Stimson, “Why Legalizing Pot Is a Bad Idea,” The Daily Signal, 30 Nov 2014].

            B.        While high (Does this list sound harmless?)

                        1.         Short attention span

                        2.         Inability to do tasks that take multiple steps

                        3.         Short-term memory loss

                        4.         Delivers up to four times the tar to lungs that tobacco does

                        5.         Causes acute panic attacks in strong doses

                        6.         Triggers schizophrenia in some people

                        7.         Impairs decision making

                        8.         Red eyes

                        9.         Blurred vision and headaches

                        10.       Decreased fertility in women

                        11.       Decreased sex drive in men

            C.        We need to be sober-minded and marijuana leads in the opposite direction - I Corinthians 15:33-34.

                        1.         We need to stay sober in spirit - I Peter 1:13

            D.        When withdrawing

                        1.         Irritability

                        2.         Restlessness

                        3.         Decreased appetite

                        4.         Sleep disturbance

                        5.         Sweating

                        6.         Tremors

                        7.         Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

            E.        One 18-year old high school student stabbed himself to death after smoking a highly potent strain of pot. [Joe Duggan, “Legal pot a bad idea, Colorado officer says”, Omaha World-Herald, 13 Nov 2015]

            F.        Teens who smoke marijuana daily are “60 percent less likely to graduate college and seven times more likely to attempt suicide.” [The Lancet Psychiatry, 2015].

                        1.         "Researchers found persistent users of the drug, [marijuana], who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults. They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained. Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers ..." [Stephen Adams, "Cannabis smoking 'permanently lowers IQ'," The Telegraph, 27 July 2012]

                        2.         "“For example, individuals who started using cannabis in adolescence and used it for years thereafter showed an average eight-point IQ decline. Quitting or reducing cannabis use did not appear to fully restore intellectual functioning among adolescent-onset former persistent cannabis users,” she said. Although eight points did not sound much, it was not trivial, she warned.

                        3.         This study gives new meaning to Paul's command - Titus 2:9

                                    a.         "Sober-minded" translates the Greek word sophroneo. It literally means "safe mind."

                                    b.         It refers to someone who is rational, in the sense of being intellectually sound, and in their right mind.

                                    c.         It is commonly connected with the idea of physical abstinence, as in the proverb "a sound mind in a sound body."

                                    d.         A person using marijuana is not sober-minded

                        4.         There is a reason why marijuana users are depicted as dumb, clueless, and lazy

                                    a.         Then think about all the passages in Proverbs that speaks of the fool - Proverbs 1:32

                                    b.         Fools have anger issues - Proverbs 12:16

                                    c.         They don’t think ahead - Proverbs 13:16

                                    d.         Fools tend to be lazy - Ecclesiastes 4:5

            G.        From the Journal of Addiction, Kings College, London:

                        1.         Marijuana is highly addictive

                        2.         Marijuana causes mental health problems

                        3.         Marijuana is a gateway drug to other illegal and dangerous drugs

                        4.         Adolescents who regularly use marijuana have lower educational attainment than non-using peers,

                        5.         The use of marijuana produced intellectual impairment,

                        6.         The use of marijuana doubled the risk of schizophrenia

                        7.         The use of marijuana increases the risk of heart of attacks in middle-aged adults.

IV.      So why is there a push for legalizing marijuana?

            A.        Note that tobacco sales are down from the drive to eliminate smoking. States make revenue from sales

            B.        “In those states that have fully legalized marijuana, revenue collections have exceeded initial estimates. Colorado anticipated $70 million in marijuana tax collections per year, and after a slow initial start, state collections will likely exceed $140 million in calendar year 2016. In Washington, after a slow start to bring the licensing system online, sales are now averaging over $2 million a day with revenue possibly reaching $270 million per year.” [Gavin Elkins, “Marijuana Legalization and Taxes: Federal Revenue Impact”, Tax Foundation, 12 May 2016]

            C.        “States are addicted to cannabis tax revenues. According to a new report from New Frontier Data, states with legalized marijuana are on track to generate approximately $655 million in state taxes on retail sales in 2017. Within that tax figure, $559 million will come just from cannabis taxes, much more than from alcohol taxes.” [Debra Borchardt, “$1 Billion in Marijuana Taxes Is Addictive to State Governors”, Forbes, 11 Apr 2017].

            D.        When you make money by unjust means, it becomes unreliable - Jeremiah 17:11

            E.        It is a sin against yourself - Habakkuk 2:9-11

V.        And the people loved it

            A.        I think the worse statistic I found was that students today don’t see marijuana use as dangerous. Teens are becoming more accepting of marijuana as not harmful.

            B.        Micah 2:11 - People will accept the lies that alcohol (and drugs) are acceptable.

            C.        A problem arises when those who should guide lie and are motivated by power and the people don’t care - Jeremiah 5:26-31

            D.        As Moses lamented - Deuteronomy 32:28-29

            E.        Stay sober because Satan is on the prowl - I Peter 5:8

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