Marijuana Leglaization Changing Colorado

A few weeks ago I had my first experience meeting someone who had relocated his family to Colorado because of medicinal marijuana. This man, a professing Christian, told me his story of being so sick with intestinal issues and nausea, that he couldn’t eat for several months. During this time he lost about 200 lbs (he was big to begin with), and was unable to work. His doctors from his home state encouraged him to try medical marijuana – he travelled to Colorado and looked into it, then moved here and later brought his family. This man explained to me that he doesn’t drink alcohol and had never gotten high in his life – but that marijuana as medicine has helped him greatly. He’s now able to hold down food and a job.

What are we to make of this – especially as Christians?  Certainly there is a difference between getting high and taking medicine. But is marijuana a legitimate medicine? Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN seems to think so. Not long ago Gupta was outspoken against all forms of marijuana legalization, but has recently come out in favor of medical marijuana. 

I have written before on this blog, that I’m not a supporter of the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes. Interestingly, the man I mentioned above is not a supporter of it either. He moved to Longmont, a city with a moratorium on both medicinal and recreational marijuana sales, because he said he doesn’t want to be in a place with a lot of dispensaries because of all that comes with them. I think there’s a big difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. My teenage son got a prescription for codeine recently after a tooth extraction. There’s a big difference between using codeine (a narcotic) for medical purposes and taking codeine or any other prescription drug recreationally.

On the local news last night, it was reported that Colorado is now a major destination for college kids on spring break. Doesn’t take a lot of guessing to figure out why: Denver has become the Amsterdam of the Americas. Yes, this brings in a lot of tax revenue, so much so that CNN Money reported today that Coloradans may be looking at getting a tax break because of the millions of dollars pouring into state coffers from recreational marijuana taxes, which are only expected to increase as recreational sales increase – but is it worth it?

CNN posted another video this week mentioning a lot of the same concerns that I’ve also expressed: namely that the legalization of marijuana won’t actually kill the black market for marijuana since it is taxed so highly, but will simply increase recreational marijuana use all across the board by making it more mainstream, especially amongst teenagers. Everyone agrees that wouldn’t be good – but in fact, it is already happening.

The encounter I had with the man mentioned above was my first – but I suspect it will not be the last. The legalization of marijuana is changing Colorado.

What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

14 thoughts on “Marijuana Leglaization Changing Colorado

  1. It is a Catch 22. i think they should not tax it too high that they cannot compete with the drug lords. i think they should use some of that tax money to start programs or help pre-existing programs reach that trying to get clean. People are going to use it and laws will not stop it.

      1. Perhaps. But many people are upset by the fact that we are funding schools with tax money generated by something which they view as an ethical compromise done just to make money – and which will affect culture in a way that is actually adverse for their children in the long run.

  2. Lots of people at work ask me if I moved to CO for the marijuana and ask me why I ever left because marijuana is legal. Both these questions are usually asked so quickly together that I don’t have the chance to tell them no before they start to smile at me for going to the pot state. I personally don’t care one way or the other about marijuana being legal, but I am not a fan of the stigma CO is getting now. I do know the UN is pretty upset about this and are pressuring the president to take federal action against the states who “enjoy” this freedom and the people who take advantage of it because of some treaty we signed saying we would only use marijuana for medical and research purposes. Which opens another can of worms with the states rights argument, US breaking treaties, and the UN asserting sovereignty over member nations.

    From another perspective, I’m not sure we, as followers of Christ, should hold those still blind to the truth to the same standard we hold ourselves. I could be wrong and often am, but I think we need to let them legally do what they want while keeping the Christian ethics in our lives so they can see it and realize Jesus has something better for them. Just my thought. That specific idea could be used for so many topics.

    1. Chris, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I had no idea that CO had a stigma like what you are talking about. For me the things which define this state are the Rocky Mountains and the great towns of people who love to get outdoors and enjoy creation. Pot has never been one of the first things that came to my mind when I thought of CO – but that may be because I grew up here.
      I know that TN has taken a hard stance against marijuana, so maybe that’s why CO has such a stigma there?

      I hadn’t heard anything about the UN being upset. If they are, then I’m sure they’ve got bigger fish to fry – Uruguay just became the first country to fully legalize recreational marijuana.
      I agree that the bigger question is states’ rights. Colorado is like the Russia of the United States: they just do whatever they want, and outside organizations yell at them and tell them to knock it off – but in the end, there are no repercussions, so they will just continue doing whatever they want.

      Regarding the legislation of morality – you are right, that our focus should be on pointing people to Jesus, not trying to dictate what behaviors they can or can’t do in their unregenerate state. However, there must be a limit to that, right? I mean, Christians condemn pedophilia – and it’s against the law. The laws exist to protect people and protect society. Clearly there are some things which should be forbidden by law in order to protect our society from things which people may want to do, but which are harmful to individuals and corporate groups. The issue with the legalization of marijuana is that it WILL affect our society, in many ways: the positives are an influx of tax revenue and the depletion of part of the black market (which results in violence and crime) – the negatives are going to be increased use of marijuana, including amongst children, more impaired people on the roads and in workplaces.
      I guess the question is whether or not it is worth it.

      Here’s a question for you though: what’s your take on medical marijuana?

      1. It isn’t something I have really done any research about, so I couldn’t give you an informed opinion on it’s benefits or harms. I can tell you that my familial hemiplegic migraines definitely put me in the position to legally obtain it for medial use while I was living in Colorado. However, I personally have no desire to ever try it because I don’t like the idea of inhaling something burning and I don’t want to alter my mind in anyway that could cause me to not respond the way I was created to respond.

      2. I think there is indeed a limit to that line of thinking for morality legislation, I just don’t know where that line is drawn. At some point God let man give in to his wickedness and, thus, we read about the endings of the cities Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis. So I don’t know where that line is, but I pray God leads me when I am a part of determining that line.

  3. Here’s my take….the majority of the people who support legalization of marijuana are people who have either 1) never smoked it, or 2) still smoke it. Now I know that is not universally true, but I think it is generally true. If you smoke it regularly you either grow to hate it or you love the feeling of being completely zoned out. I’m sure there are people who have experimented with it, or smoked it once or twice as a kid and don’t truly understand the long term effects of it and because it didn’t cause problems for them, they support it’s legalization. As a Christian, I cannot support it’s legalization because it is a stumbling block even within the Christian community. There’s even a religion which revolves around marijuana! Why would I support legalization of something that could keep someone from Christ?

    1. I agree that it is a stumbling block within the Christian community. That’s partly why I write about it – because I don’t hear ANY Christian leaders speaking up about it and addressing an issue which everybody else in our society is talking about.
      Shelby – what is your take on marijuana for medicinal purposes?

  4. Honestly, Nick, I have trouble supporting the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. I say this because I believe it is a ruse for the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. It is prescribed by disreputable doctors to patients who complain of any type of pain. I do, however, believe that it is possible that certain THC derivatives may have some medicinal benefits. I recently watched a news report on two families that had relocated to Colorado to receive treatment for their young children involving a THC derivative which did not have any intoxicating affects. I felt that these families would not have made life altering moves for this purpose unless there were true beneficial results being experienced. I think there should be clinical trials on THC derivatives and eventually full FDA approval if it’s found to be beneficial (and sold in pharmacies instead of pot shops).

    1. I agree that the current system is easily abused. Even the guy I mention in this post told me that – that you can totally tell which dispensaries are geared towards people who just want to get stoned.
      I believe I linked in the video in the post, but CNN posted a video explaining why THC derivatives alone don’t have the same medicinal effects as the whole marijuana plant. I do agree with you though, that if this is a legit medicine, the it should be regulated and sold through pharmacies rather than dispensaries, and it should be focused on products that help alleviate problems rather than getting people high.

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