Legalizing Marijuana

Dateline: 11 January 2014

Last Thursday’s edition of the  Generations With Vision radio program was titled Legalization of Pot in Colorado. The first half of the show (15 minutes) wasn’t about pot. It was a realistic and sobering look at the evolving American police state, which appears to be setting the stage for increasing tyranny. 

Evidently, the FBI’s mission statement has recently changed from law enforcement to “national security.”  To which Kevin Swanson asks, “Does this mean the FBI has turned into the KGB?” And co-host Dave Buehner warns that "there is an evil tide coming upon us.”

As I’ve stated in the past, I appreciate Kevin and Dave and their biblically-based cultural analysis. Just this last week, they discussed everything from Katy Perry’s announcement that she isn’t a Christian, to the recent Mennonite church ordination of a lesbian woman pastor. In between that they talked about (in their own unique way)  feminism, patriarchy, the Girl Scouts, abortion, the increase in pre-teen sexting, modesty, contemporary  christian music, and so on.

Their program about of the legalization of pot in Colorado brought to mind my own experiences with marijuana... 

I graduated from high school in 1976. Pot-smoking was certainly prevalent in America back then, but it wasn’t any big deal in my small rural high school at that time. I suspected that a minority of hippie-like kids in the school smoked pot, but none of my friends were pot smokers. If they were, I don’t think they would have been my friends. 

I was a Christian in high school. My faith was important to me. I took Matthew 7:13 very seriously where it says:

 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it."

I understood that intoxication with mind-altering substances was something that Christians didn't do. With the narrow gate in mind, I had "purposed in my heart" (much like Daniel in Daniel 1:8) not to take drugs or alcohol.  I had predetermined that it was something I wasn’t going to do. 

I also had the viewpoint back then that people who smoked pot were losers. As a friend of mine recently remarked, “You can’t fly with the eagles if you run with the turkeys.” Well, I guess that was how I felt. I'm sure there was a measure of pride mixed in with my spiritual convictions, but my ethics as a teenager were, in retrospect, surprisingly solid.

After high school I went to the Sterling School in Vermont for a year. It was a small program with only around 75 kids. My roommate was a guy named Dave from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dave and I got to know each other that first day of school by taking a long walk and talking about ourselves. 

One of the first things Dave asked me was if I smoked pot. I told him no. He wondered if I had ever tried it. I said no. He wondered if I wanted to try it. I said no. Dave told me his mother had smoked pot with him and his friends back in Ann Arbor. That shocked me.

Dave informed me on that first day that he had recently given up smoking pot. I was glad to hear it. Nevertheless, it wasn’t long before Dave was smoking pot in our room. When I expressed some disappointment at that, and said I thought he had quit, he got downright surly. He told me that I’d be smoking pot with him by the end of the year. 

I came to realize that several other kids at the school were pot smokers too, and Dave was supplying them. When I asked him where he got the stuff he frankly revealed to me that it came through the mail in “care packages” from a friend back in Ann Arbor. Upon further questioning, Dave told me his friend was a rich older gay man. 

That really shocked me, and it confused me too, because Dave was popular with girls. “So, are you gay?” I asked. He told me he was bisexual. I told him that was disgusting, He laughed.

A few months into the school year, Dave yelled out to another guy in the dormitory that he had gotten a new shipment of pot in the mail. The director of the school overheard him, and Dave was promptly expelled. 

I walked into our dorm room to find Dave packing up all his stuff. I asked what he was doing and he told me the story. He was crying. Despite our differences, I liked Dave, and I felt kind of bad that he was leaving. But I didn’t cry.

Two years later, I was attending the building trades program at Alfred State College in New York. There were a whole lot more students there, and a lot of wild parties. I managed to live within that culture, and be friendly with everyone, without being a part of the bacchanalian revelry. I was also, by then, less prone to being surprised by the immoral behavior of so many people. But one friend from my building trades class unwittingly shocked me one day...

Mark was a quintessential American boy. Close-cut hair. Nice smile. Handsome. Great personality. He told me he had won the national soapbox derby in Akron Ohio when he was younger. I was impressed. We got along well in building trades class. 

When Mark told me he smoked pot, I was a little surprised, but he was more surprised to learn that I didn’t. Then he said something that I’ve never forgotten 

“You gotta stop by my dorm room sometime and see my bong.” 

I had never heard of a bong. I said, “Your what!?”

“My bong, man. I've got the biggest bong on campus. It’s almost five feet high. You gotta check it out!”

Well, I never did check out that bong.

My only other memorable experience with marijuana was also at Alfred State. I had a car of  my own by then and was driving a bunch of friends back to the main campus from a job site where we had been working. Three guys in the back seat and one in the front with me. The trip was maybe ten miles. Half way into it I smelled pot, looked in the rearview mirror, and saw they were lighting up a joint. 

I’m an easy-going guy. It takes a lot to upset me. But that upset me. And they knew it real quick. I don’t recall what I said, but I was saying it loud and fast and I’m sure my face was red. I pulled over and told the three of them to get out. They got rid of the joint and were real apologetic. I drove them back to school but it was a quiet ride the rest of the way.

As you can see, I’ve pretty much always been a square. I realize now that it was the grace of God that gave me the inner resolve to “purpose in my heart” that I would not do a lot of foolish and self-destructive things that so many young people do, like smoke pot.

Now, after having told you all of that, you might be surprised to know that I really don’t have any big objection to the legalization of marijuana. Maybe I should, but I don’t.

Obviously, there is a whole counterculture that is addicted to pot. Their lives revolve around pot. It owns them. There is a bad spiritual dimension to smoking pot. And it is obviously (unless you are hooked) not a healthy thing to do.

What might not be obvious is the political aspect of this. Anyone who has read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World may see similarities between pot and “soma.” Here is a description of soma from the Brave New World Wikipedia entry...

Beyond providing social engagement and distraction in the material realm of work or play, the need for transcendence, solitude and spiritual communion is addressed with the ubiquitous availability and universally endorsed consumption of the drug soma. In the book, soma is a hallucinogen that takes users on enjoyable, hangover-free "holidays". It was developed by the World State to provide these inner-directed personal experiences within a socially managed context of State-run "religious" social clubs. The inculcated affinity for the State-[sanctioned] drug, as a self-medicating comfort mechanism in the face of stress or discomfort, thereby eliminates the need for religion or other personal allegiances outside or beyond the World State. 

Pretty wild, eh? 

In the final analysis, I see the widespread move to legalize pot as just another indication that America is in spiritual decline. 

Nevertheless, like I said, I have no big objections to legalizing pot (it appeals to my libertarian inclinations).  I’m not going to vote for legalization (if I ever get a chance to vote on it here in New York), but I’m also not going to expend a lot of energy working against it. It’s just not that big of a deal in my mind because there are so many other matters that strike me as more important. There are “bigger fish to fry” as the American empire collapses.

By the way, Kevin Swanson, seems to think pretty much the same way. Check out the radio program at: Legalization of Pot in California.


Anonymous said...

Like you, Brother Kimball, I guess the whole marijuana issue just doesn't get me too excited; I graduated from a SoCal high school back in '78, so I have some of the same memories you do about those times. I never had any desire to partake of it or any other illicit drug, but the prohibition was more of a family/community-based prohibition, not generated top-down by a meddling government. And that's where I believe things should stay, with families and communities, not in the hands of an overweening state that can use the same logic to prohibit the sale and consumption of raw milk and a host of other foods that have not been approved by the government-Big Agra duopoly.

I'm likely preaching to the choir yet again!

David Smith

Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

Wow, college must have really been a culture shock for you. Like you I knew of people in Jr. High and High School that dabbled but they were not my friends. In college I found out my best friend was into it and was even driving under the influence. I told her that wasn't cool but I don't know if she ever stopped. Like you I won't fight against legalization of pot but I won't support it either. I think it is foolish thing to use but most people think raw milk is foolish. I just want government out of people's private lives.

RonC said...

I basically agree on this matter. Maybe a better way would be to keep pot illegal, but decriminalize it. The USA currently locks up 10% of its population and the bulk of it is over something that is really quite petty. No other country in the world even comes close to our 10% incarceration rate. In most of the rest of the world, 1-1.5% of the population lives in prison. I believe you'll always have that.

That being said, I still think employers should be able to discriminate against pot users.

Whether pot is legal or not isn't going to change my behavior. I believe prohibition only encourages drug use because of the excitement factor. Lets just say there are certain drugs that are harmful to your body and if you want to mess up your brain with them, knock yourself out. We don't need to throw people in prison over that and take away their ability to provide for their children. Maybe some employers don't mind if their employees use. Lets just let the marketplace decide and move on.

I think all drugs should be handled the same way we handle alcohol. You kill someone while under the influence, that should be jail time.

Sheila Gilbert said...

Turns out that all my friends were smoking it, and I didn't even know it until my younger brothers and sisters started smoking it years later. By then I was married with children and talked to my friends about it. They had all smoked and I finally put it all together, when we had to laugh, at me never knowing what that terrible smell in the car was way back then.
I do have one thing to say about the legalization. For some it's more than a trip, for some it is being able to cope with an illness that is killing them.
I have always been against the use of pot, but when you are face to face with people that have been on pain killers for years, and nothing works anymore, then you will know how important it can be.
If I had to choose between man made Chemicals, by a company that is dishonest and who knows what else, and God's creation, a plant, to get relief from outrageous pain, then the plant it is.
I would never encourage anyone to use pot, however there could come a day when there is nothing available but "the plant" and in an emergency, surgery or other situations, I would thank God for something to help someone along with a solution.
If we go back to living like in the 1800's we may need that plant, that is unless you are willing to take out a part of the body without the help of medicines, or pain killers.
I don't believe we really know what we would do if things were different. The 1800's was a time for herbs and plants for medical treatments, that could happen again. I only know one thing, God made it, I will seek His answer if I am in that position, until then, I will not use something that could alter my mind. However,
Enough pain could do that anyway, so who knows what the answer is?
It's a tough question, and if I have to ask it in the future, only then will I ask God to show me what to do.

Herrick Kimball said...

Thanks David, Cynthia, Ron and Sheila,

I'm in agreement with your comments.

Sheila, if I understand correctly, the new law in Colorado allows for the sale of pot for "recreational" use.

I have no problem at all with the medicinal use of it, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I felt it would truly help to heal or alleviate some physical suffering. That's part of the reason why God made so many different plants. They all have their purpose, or purposes.

When my mother had cancer, and was refusing to take any "modern" medicines, we seriously considered trying to get her some marijuana. The big question was, "who could help us find some?" Well, it turned out that getting some pot wasn't going to be much of a problem at all (friends of friends), but we ended up not going that route.

Sheila Gilbert said...

One of my sisters husband had cancer, he was not expected to live. He was in so much pain that he cried day and night for months. My sister, who is in the medical field, got pot for her husband after watching him suffer for so long. We were all concerned about it, however I can honestly say, that it was as close to a miracle as you can get. He smoked, and the pain was gone. He eventually had a very long battle with medications, surgery, and therapy, and today is as strong as an ox.
He does not smoke anymore, but he swears that it is what got him through living with the pain, and without it, he was ready to die.
Thank you for sharing your experience, it's one of those confusing situations where you may not know what is right or wrong, however one scripture comes to mind each time I think of that situation.
1 Timothy 4:4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude, for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Our Lord always has an answer for us.

Piotr Lorenc said...

Thank you for sharing. It is great to get to know the person a little more that you follow, and learn great insights from. I appreciate your thoughts and convictions.

Russell Tripovich said...

If I could go back in time to high school, I'd be a square. I admired the squares, secretly of course. They didn't seem to need the escape, the holiday, they always seemed to have inner strengths we didn't have. Us smoking area pot heads had deep family problems. Security that comes from solid Dads and Moms was lacking. We connected with our naughty pot group, rebelling against our ills. Glory to Father God, it has been 25 years since my last inhale. Never had one desire for it, since the day Jesus Christ took that habit away. I suppose I'm a square after all. Wouldn't want to be anything else.
Russell Tripovich

Herrick Kimball said...


That's a wonderful testimony.
Thanks for sharing it here!