Thinking Out Loud

October 16, 2018

‘Twas the Night Before Cannabis

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:08 am

Tonight at midnight, the nation I call home will undergo a rather dramatic shift, joining only the country of Uruguay in having fully legalized marijuana.

Right now, as I type this, it is illegal. On Wednesday, because the government went beyond the simple ‘decriminalization’ that many expected, possession and usage finally becomes fully permissible.

Some of us are worried, to say the least.

Although the film is an hour long — you may have watched it when we linked to it here last month — the documentary Chronic State: How Marijuana Normalization Impacts Communities by the group DrugFree Idaho shows what has happened in Colorado and gives cause for concern on many different fronts. (For example, in the first few minutes, the video shows three different toddlers inhaling…)

The video was produced by a group in Idaho trying to stop the same things from happening there. They say Colorado is the test case, and as such it’s a very cautionary tale.

Of great concern is what happens to those who partook of pot in high school or college, and now decades have passed and they’ve decided that just for ‘old time sake’ they will give it another go; only to quickly realize that the stuff being sold now is as much as 10 to 15 times stronger than what they remember. (Or don’t remember; given the nature of those experiences.)

On Sunday, following the sermon, our Lead Pastor took several minutes to outline the position of the church. Needless to say, no cannabis is allowed on the property or at church-sanctioned offsite events. More importantly, no one using cannabis recreationally can hold a position of leadership in the church. (Implied: If they do, at that point they’re done with that position.)

As final and firm as that sounds, he also confessed that this is uncharted territory, and if their position sounds too legalistic, he’s willing to discuss it. Uncharted, indeed. Nobody knows what the next few hours will bring, and more importantly, the first weekend when getting high on pot isn’t a crime.

We’ll be driving our cars slowly and carefully, and with the radio tuned to the all-news station for updates.

Magazine cover images (above) from the documentary film mentioned.

 

 

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June 22, 2018

Making it Legal

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 6:58 am

Marijuana becomes legal in Canada on October 17th. (Uruguay is the only other country to do so.) On the day before, it will be illegal; possession, cultivation and trafficking all criminal offenses. The next day, you’ll be able to grow plants in your home and consume your pot-laden instrument of choice, with ingestion or inhaling being the two primary options.

I thought I’d write about this for (a) my readers in other countries and (b) as a let’s-compare-notes piece for my readers in other parts of Canada.

Right now, what I’m hearing is one large concern and one minor concern.

Safety

The most recurring theme in conversation is what happens to road safety on October 17th. People are already ignoring speed limits and running stop signs and red lights in this country at an alarming rate. We aren’t the law-and-order society one finds in the U.S., we’re largely a nation of anarchists.

So what happens when people who are totally stoned get behind the wheel of a car, pickup, SUV or minivan? That’s what’s scaring us. The law takes effect on a Wednesday. What will that first weekend be like in terms of traffic accidents and especially fatalities?

I would describe the general attitude of people I know as one of fear.

Christians and Weed

Right now, a major barrier to Christians using pot is that it’s illegal. But nowhere does the Bible say, ‘Thou shalt not toke.’ But we are commanded to obey the law.

So the question few are prepared to state aloud is, ‘Who will be the first person in our church family to confess to using the substance after it becomes legal?’

Christian attitudes toward alcohol have changed greatly in the past couple of generations. But few church-goers would risk their reputation or risk getting a criminal record for a banned substance. Once it’s legal? I would imagine there are those who wouldn’t give it a second thought. Maybe they can’t wait for the date to hurry up and get here.

And all of this, in their minds, is consistent with how they believe Christ-followers ought to live.

I will not be one of them.

At a future time, dealing with a painful medical condition, I wouldn’t rule out medical marijuana; but right here, and right now, the desire just isn’t there. It’s not on my bucket list.

As well, returning to the first concern, I don’t want to be the person behind the wheel when pot impairment leads to damage or injury to another person.

Or takes that person’s life.

Canada will be a different place on October 17th. That is a given. Is this a good idea? Do a majority want this?

It’s too late now to ask those questions.


Image: The Globe and Mail, Canada’s National Newspaper. Click here to read their story.

March 22, 2018

Marriage and Marijuana: When the Rules Change

Changes in the law are often viewed from a variety of vantage points.

I often wonder what happens when someone who has done prison time for pot possession thinks as they see state after state making weed legal. Or the person who was persecuted by family or friends for their homosexual cohabitation watching gay marriage legalized.

I realize that most of the people reading this fall into neither category. You may not directly know people who do. However, such individuals would have a rather different perspective on changing legislation in various states as well as Canada.

The end result of what pilots call a “graveyard spiral.”

Then there are those who will simply use this as an example of how society is going downhill; to use an aviation term, the graveyard spiral of society. It’s great sermon material if you want to get people revved up; what Skye Jethani would call pandering to the Fear-vangelical mindset.

But there’s another viewpoint I was considering today: The youth.

In particular, what does all this look like from the point of view of a child who is too young to smoke weed and too young to enter into a marriage relationship?

In some ways, it sends this message: If you wait long enough it — whatever it is — will eventually be made legal.

I know you’re thinking, ‘Yes, but some things are absolutely wrong and not subject to discussion.’

Really? Take the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill” and then consider euthanasia, abortion or (for some) even war itself.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness.” What about lying where it is expedient, or situation ethics, manipulation of statistics, or the popular term today, fake news?

Again, I’m not talking about the “moral decay” itself, but about the appearance all this must present to young people who see nothing as absolute. Rules regulating behavior and lifestyle appear as in flux or in transition with no fixed reference points.

I’ve noted elsewhere on the blog that rules are often created at one time or for one group of people or in one particular place; whereas principles are timeless and transcend the limits of who they apply to or where they apply. The rules derive from the principles.

So in a world where alcohol is in common use, the addition of marijuana to the recreational mix may not appear to reflect a change in principles, but a kid or young teen doesn’t know that.

To children and youth, as things are subject to constant revision and updated legislation, all bets are off when it comes to whether anything is truly wrong.

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