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Commentary: Marijuana Should Not Be Legalized for Recreational Use

Bob Enyart, |Special to The Huffington Post
Friday, 20 Apr 2012 | 10:23 AM ET
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Regarding marijuana use or any moral question, arguing right and wrong in today's society is especially difficult because a growing number of people reject absolute right and wrong. Producing a documentary titled "Get Out of the Matrix," our video crew walked onto a college campus and asked random people in the student center, and a philosophy professor and her class, whether or not it was absolutely wrong for a man to violently rape a woman, or for the National Socialists to slaughter millions of Jews. "No," was the answer we would get. "Not absolutely wrong."

So if you likewise assume that there is no right or wrong (and thus reject arguments against pot), then you've got problems way more serious than marijuana and you need to find help.

Pot should remain as a controlled substance, with marijuana-based medicines (like cocaine-based medicines) available by subscription fulfilled not from your home-grown stash but through a pharmacy. Why?

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It's wrong to get high. For in doing so you reject the counsel of the God who made you. And by intoxication you lose what should be a full control of your mental and moral faculties. You become a threat to yourself and a risk to those around you.

Billions of people cannot get drunk on a sip of wine. Hundreds of millions cannot get drunk even on a glass of wine or a can of beer. Conversely, there are countless millions of people who get high with the normal use of even only one, two, or three drags on a joint. Thus for billions of people, normal use of alcohol does not automatically get them intoxicated but the opposite is true for marijuana.

It should be illegal to get high and any substance should be controlled whose normal use makes one high.

Pot has been politically correct on college campuses for decades and so studies are easily biased, which is why it's surprising that so many of them warn of the serious risks. But looking at the candid testimony of the masses, millions of people believe that smoking pot makes you stupid. Yes, stupid.

Long-term cigarette smoking is bad for your lungs but unlike for pot, there are not millions of people who believe that tobacco makes you intoxicated, lowers your IQ, and makes you slow and stupid. But why the difference? These millions haven't weighed conflicting scientific studies (including those showing learning and memory impairments from using pot). Rather, they've seen the results first hand. While studies conflict, many confirm what millions have perceived — that routine pot use leads to serious mental health issues. On the other hand, a nightly glass of red wine has the opposite reputation, of not making anyone slow or stupid, but of sustaining health and even decreasing the likelihood of dementia.

Many studies show serious problems, for example, with schizoid psychosiswhile smoking. And marijuana can act as a cancer-causing carcinogen and damaging DNA for pot smoke contains higher levels of certain toxinsthan tobacco, which is why pot smokers face rapid lung destruction, with the impact on lungs from one joint equaling up to five cigarettes. Pot also opens the door for the virus that causes Kaposi's Sarcoma. And for pregnant moms, it can harm their unborn child by impairing growth and by causing long-lasting neurobehavioural problems. (And if you've read online that marijuana has never caused a single death, just assume you're reading a pothead's website.) For habitual use is strongly associated with car crash injuries and smoking marijuana doubles the risk of fatal accidents.

So, millions of people believe that smoking pot makes you stupid because it does. And it impairs one's healthy inhibitions. And like with many other problems as identified at KGOV.com/pot, parents who use pot at home will, at unexpected times including in emergencies, end up driving their own children after they've smoked half a joint. And pot makes folks paranoid (as I've seen firsthand even aside from criminality). And pot's quick intoxicating effect will weaken a man's moral compass and then, as the Bible warns of drunkenness, increase his lust for other women.

So when the normal use of a substance makes a person high, then the government correctly outlaws and classifies that drug as a controlled substance. Thus while marijuana-based medications should be available on a prescription basis from a pharmacy, pot use should not be normalized and the marijuana drug should be illegal.

Bob Enyart is Pastor of the Denver Bible Church in Arvada, Colorado.