Should We Legalize Marijuana?
Steve R. Graham
(The use of mind-altering drugs has become a wide-spread scourge in modern America. Conditions contributing to this scourge are not now our interest, but the legalizing of one of these drugs, marijuana is.
Such legalization has come close to the forefront of political debate in our country. It is, however, more than a matter of political debate. It holds the potential of ruining lives, paving the way for hard drugs, and destroying spiritual usefulness. It is this potential for spiritual harm that makes the matter of a concern in this article.
Steve Graham, my brother and the District Attorney in Lauderdale County, wrote a letter to the editor, printed in the Times Daily of Florence, Alabama, on November 20, 1995. He was responding to an earlier letter promoting such legalization. Part of it is here used because of the information contained and the warning urged. Concerned Christians will shout their concern not only in the political arena but also in the lives that they can influence for good and help to avoid the pitfalls set by Satan. It is amazing that even this ploy is his strategy his wile to ensnare many and to desensitize us so we become easy prey. Read and pass on this information to others, especially the young. Bobby L. Graham)
"Don't fool yourselves; drug dealers will sell what-ever they can to make money. They don't care what it is or what it does to you.
"Mr. Ricks seems to base his belief that marijuana should be legalized on the fact that alcohol and cigarettes are legal, and that he believes marijuana is no more harmful than those substances. I certainly do not condone the use of alcohol or cigarettes. But two, or even three, wrongs do not make a right.
"Many studies have been conducted on the short-term and long-term effects of marijuana usage, and showing that use of marijuana has many detrimental effects. The first and most obvious harmful effect is that it impairs brain activities. These include short-term memory, judgment, learning ability, coordination and the ability to follow moving objects.
"The most insidious harm is that marijuana usage destroys initiative initiative to engage in any kind of meaningful activity.
"Young males who smoke marijuana will incur a decrease in the male sex hormone called testosterone. As a result, the ability of their bodies to produce sperm is impaired, and could result in the inability to father children later in life.
"The menstrual cycle of women can be affected by the use of marijuana. It is the belief of many health professionals that birth defects have been and are caused in children whose mothers and even grandmothers used marijuana in the past. And due to the fact that the active ingredient, THC, is stored in the fat cells of the body, it can endure for long periods of time, causing long-term problems with which we are not yet familiar.
"The heart, lungs, and immune system are also affected by marijuana. We know that the "cannabis sativa" plant, from which we get marijuana, contains over 400 chemicals. Very few of these chemicals and their effects have been identified.
"Although an actual physical dependence on marijuana is rare, it does have those who are mentally and emotion-ally dependent on it. More importantly, however, it serves as a threshold drug for many people. That is, they start with marijuana and when a tolerance for this drug is developed, they must move on to something stronger.
"I would invite you or any of your readers to ask any mental health professional or substance abuse counselor about marijuana. All that I know or have had any experience with would tell you that marijuana almost always leads to other things. It is almost without exception that those who abuse or are addicted to other drugs started with marijuana.
"With all of the problems that we now have as a society, we certainly do not need to compound them with the legalization of marijuana."
Reprinted from the Weekly Bulletin of the Market Street Church of Christ, Athens, AL, March 14, 1996.
Guardian of Truth XL: 12 p. 5