Ohio… Going To Pot?

Tim Throckmorton

One of the most breathtaking places in our great United States of America is the beautiful state of Colorado. I had the incredible joy this summer to visit and drink in the spacious skies, amazing mountains and colorful vistas. An absolutely picturesque place with a big problem… Legalized Marijuana! I visited the Red Rock area just outside of Denver with a very good friend and while driving through a quaint little town I spotted a brightly decorated little cottage that at first glance resembled a toyshop or maybe a candy store. As we drove closer I noticed the large sign over the door, “Happy Shack” and asked my host, “is that what I think it is?” “It sure is” he replied, “and they are everywhere.” Colorful, attractive and of course unassuming but nonetheless very dangerous. First off as a Pastor I am drawn to the biblical perspective of the marijuana issue.

Rob Schwarzwalder, Senior Vice President for the Family Research Council writes, According to the White House National Office of Drug Control Policy, “Since 1996, 20 states and Washington, D.C. have passed laws allowing smoked marijuana to be used for a variety of medical conditions.” This trend reflects what seems to be a growing national tolerance for the use of marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes… Some argue that moderate use of a drug like marijuana, which often is seen as non-addictive and a much milder drug than heroin, is no different than having a glass of wine at dinner. However, medical experts have found that marijuana has far more harmful and complex psychoactive effects than a glass of wine. In this document, the focus will be on the guidance scripture offers concerning substance abuse.” He goes on to say, “The Bible is clear that drunkenness is wrong. It makes one vulnerable not only to excessive actions but conduct inconsistent with Godly living. Consequently, using an alcoholic beverage and, by extension, a drug to alter one’s mind and emotional state is not only unwise in itself, it is also, more importantly, unacceptable to God. Given the inherently intoxicant nature of hallucinogens, virtually any use of such drugs as marijuana can be viewed as counter to scripture. None of us can sustain the sound minds and healthy bodies God desires us to have when we place ourselves under the controlling influence of something other than his Spirit. In fact, Paul the Apostle warns believers in Ephesians 5:18 not to be drunk with wine, then contrasts drunkenness with the “filling” of the Spirit. The implication for marijuana, which is mind-altering, harmful to the brain, and potentially addictive, is clear. Additionally, there is really no such thing as “safe” substance abuse.

Along with the biblical implications there are also a host of practical health and safety concerns include the following… “Pot Fuels Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths.” In a story by Bill Briggs of NBC News, “As medical marijuana sales expanded into 20 states, legal weed was detected in the bodies of dead drivers three times more often during 2010 when compared to those who died behind the wheel in 1999, according to a new study from Columbia University published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. “The trend suggests that marijuana is playing an increased role in fatal crashes,” said Dr. Guohua Li, a co-author and director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center. “If the current trends continue,” Li said, “non-alcohol drugs, such as marijuana, will overtake alcohol in traffic fatalities around 2020.” The new law has caused headaches for neighboring states too. Two states and a consortium of law enforcement agencies from three are suing Colorado for the spillover effects they’re now seeing in their own neighborhoods, where marijuana usage remains illegal. In addition “Marijuana use has been a big challenge for Colorado’s employers. Not only can Colorado’s pot be extremely harmful to our kids’ health, but its use can have extremely negative employment consequences.” A top concern for many people who are now part of the resistance is the fact that kids under the age of 21the minimum age for purchasing marijuana that was written into the law are nonetheless consuming it at stunning levels, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Diane Carlson, co-founder of Smart Colorado, a youth advocacy group that works with many schools relates, “The potential for harm and the implications for their future is unfathomable.” Lakewood resident James Otten, a retired U.S. Geological Survey research scientist, teamed with Colorado Christian University to spearhead the education campaign before the vote. “We believed that an informed electorate would be generally opposed if they knew the facts,” Otten says. “The overall message after being informed about this marijuana, was that (it) is not safe, and that it is harmful.”

This is but the tip of the iceberg in regard to information available on why this is bad for the Great State of Ohio. Legalizing marijuana in Ohio has the potential to be bad for Education, bad for the economy, bad for children and teens and tragic perhaps for the eternal destiny of many souls. Based on all the above I strongly oppose Issue 3. Let’s not allow Ohio go to pot!