Pastor Bob Enyart of the Denver Bible Church wrote a hysterical, and often incoherent, anti-marijuana legalization piece in today’s Huffington Post. But if you can overlook his lemming-over-the-cliff beliefs such as “smoking pot makes you stupid because it does” and “pot’s quick intoxicating effect will weaken a man’s moral compass”, you will find that Pastor Bob actually makes a compelling argument as to why marijuana should be legalized.
Pastor Bob writes:
“It’s wrong to get high. For in doing so you reject the counsel of the God who made you. And by intoxication you lose what should be a full control of your mental and moral faculties. You become a threat to yourself and a risk to those around you ... It should be illegal to get high and any substance should be controlled whose normal use makes one high.”
Read that last part again: “any substance should be controlled whose normal use makes one high.”
Let’s take a look at alcohol, which in itself is an intoxicating substance, but is accepted by society because it is controlled and regulated. When was the last time you picked up the newspaper to read about alcohol cartels shooting police over black market booze?
What Pastor Bob, and thousands of others across the country, fail to realize in their hysterical anti-marijuana beliefs is that with legalization comes control. Anti-marijuana activists believe that the only way to control marijuana is to prohibit marijuana, but as was the case with alcohol, prohibition only leads to lack of control, not lack of access.
I’ve got news for you, Pastor Bob: Marijuana is everywhere, in your city, in your neighborhood, in your congregation. It’s not controlled. And it’s not taxed.
Although the corner liquor store ID’s their customers to ensure that they are of legal age, I can assure you that the corner dealer does not. Although your city, state, and federal governments reap the benefits of taxes on sales of alcohol, they do not get a dime from marijuana sales. Although employees at liquor stores, bars, breweries, distilleries and distribution centers pay income taxes to the state and federal government, your friendly neighborhood pot dealer does not.
With marijuana legalization comes control. All medical, sociological and economic benefits of marijuana aside, a legal marijuana market is a controlled marijuana market.
Pastor Bob also argues that the effects of marijuana are more instantaneous:
“Billions of people cannot get drunk on a sip of wine. Hundreds of millions cannot get drunk even on a glass of wine or a can of beer. Conversely, there are countless millions of people who get high with the normal use of even only one, two, or three drags on a joint. Thus for billions of people, normal use of alcohol does not automatically get them intoxicated but the opposite is true for marijuana.”
Once again, Pastor Bob is unknowingly making another pretty good argument in favor of marijuana legalization. Pastor Bob forgot to mention hard liquor, which is much more potent than beer or wine, and can cause intoxication with just few sips, or a shot. And I can’t remember the last time I lost “full control of your mental and moral faculties” (to quote Pastor Bob) after just one hit off of a joint — that would have to be some pretty killer bud.
The point here, is that because of controlled, regulated alcohol sales, alcohol manufacturers must test the potency of their product, and clearly display it on the label. Breweries and distilleries even provide us with choices as to the potency of their intoxicant, be it 100 proof vodka or a 9% alcohol by volume microbrew. This is all possible because alcohol is a legal, controlled, regulated product.
With marijuana, potency can vary enormously. One of the common anti-marijuana arguments of late is that “marijuana today is (insert random number here) times more potent than the marijuana of the 1970’s.” Well, thanks to advances in agricultural technology, so are pretty much every vegetable found in the produce section of your local supermarket (and, once again, made possible by regulation and control).
Marijuana, in a controlled and regulated industry, can easily be scientifically tested to determine potency and THC levels. Laboratories such as Bud Genius already provide this service to dispensaries in medical marijuana states, allowing patients to select potency and characteristics appropriate for their use and budget.
Pastor Bob concludes (after a brief attempt to scientifically back his assertions):
So when the normal use of a substance makes a person high, then the government correctly outlaws and classifies that drug as a controlled substance. Thus while marijuana-based medications should be available on a prescription basis from a pharmacy, pot use should not be normalized and the marijuana drug should be illegal.
Think about it, Pastor Bob. You want marijuana controlled, not prohibited. With legalization, you get control and regulation. With prohibition, you get crime and violence.
As a man of the cloth, which do you prefer?