As a resident of Colorado, a state that legalized recreational marijuana use in 2012, you get accustomed to all the so-called “jokes” about the popularity of the drug in the Rocky Mountain State.
Popular culture has been trying to destigmatize marijuana for years, and it’s often the punch line in movies, television shows and music.
The reality, though, is that the recreational use of cannabis is no laughing matter, most especially for young people and pregnant women.
This was the sober and serious message that Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, and the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, brought to a special press conference earlier this morning in Washington, D.C.
As many of us have been saying for years, all the empirical medical data points to the negative impact that recreational marijuana has on the family, specifically on the stability of marriages, along with the health of parents and their children, as well as the community at-large.
It’s a lie that marijuana is harmless. Over the years, our friends on the Physicians Resource Council of Focus on the Family have drawn attention to many of the downsides of marijuana: diminished cognitive function (including concentration, memory, learning and judgment), impaired motor skills, and decrease in motivation, not to mention health problems that may result from the irritating and toxic mix of chemicals that are inhaled when pot is smoked.
Add to all this the fact that marijuana keeps bad company. Marijuana is often referred to as a “gateway drug.” Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone who tries marijuana is fated to a life of drug addiction, but research shows that marijuana use in many young people leads to the abuse of alcohol or use of illicit drugs (or the abuse of legal prescription medications).
Amidst all the problems associated with marijuana, we shouldn’t lose sight of the moral concerns either. The Bible is very clear in warning against drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). Granted, a person might drink a glass of wine at dinner and not become intoxicated, but what about marijuana? Isn’t “intoxication” the main point of using marijuana for recreational purposes?
I applaud Secretary Azar’s and Dr. Adams’ strong leadership on the escalating drug epidemic. Please join me in praying for this coordinated effort to call attention to the problem – and in the process let’s also lift up in prayer the health of our nation’s schoolchildren and all those caught in the grip of substances that threaten their lives.