If recreational marijuana use is legal in your state (or becomes), will your church allow members to smoke pot in moderation?

No, definitely not; we would discipline members who did
46% (11 votes)
We will speak againsi it, but not discipline if use is moderate (or something like this)
13% (3 votes)
We will probably live in denial and be against it but that's all
8% (2 votes)
13% (3 votes)
We will not discipline for it, but require leaders to abstain
13% (3 votes)
8% (2 votes)
Total votes: 24
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There are 17 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

At a time when many fundamentalists countenance drinking alcohol in moderation, we now have to address marijuana.  Since obeying the law is part of God's demands for believers, and since recreational  marijuana use was against the law, it was a no-brainer.

Now we have a new challenge.  The issue may be more relevant in Colorado, but we can expect other states to follow, given time.  So, for Colorado Chrstians, they have to face this now.  For those of us in other states in the U.S., we have to think ahead.  How strict will we be on this matter?

Whatever we tell people needs to be succinct and close to the Scripture.  We can do this with drunkenness, but it seems we have to rely on principles for marijuana.  So it's time to hash out a simple and easily defended argument.  What will that argument be for whatever position you take?





"The Midrash Detective"

Mike Harding's picture



The same principles we use to argue abstinence for alcohol and cigarettes we would use for marijuana.

Pastor Mike Harding

Jim's picture

I understand that medical marijuana is going mainstream: WebMD article


From the article: Doctors also may prescribe medical marijuana to treat:

  • Muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
  • Nausea from cancer chemotherapy
  • Poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness, such as HIV, or nerve pain
  • Seizure disorders
  • Crohn's disease
Jim's picture

I didn't vote because I am not in a position to speak for my church (or influence the decision), but

  • The abstain from alcohol clause is a waste of time in church covenants. It's not enforceable. Mature Christians don't need it. 
  • And I suggest that adding an abstain from marijuana would likewise be a waste of time. Are pastors and deacons to intrude in the Dr / patient relationship. Are we supposed to ask "do you have Crohn's disease?"

By the way my own Dr has advised me:

Mayo Clinic: "Moderate alcohol use may be of most benefit only if you're an older adult or if you have existing risk factors for heart disease, such as high cholesterol."

dgszweda's picture

I am 100% for medical marijuana.  It has significant medical benefits that have never really been explored, because of it's illegality.  This will probably change as time goes on.  I worked for 12 years for a company that had an FDA approved prescribed drug called Marinol (that included the active ingredients in Marijuana), and it provide significant help to many who were going through chemotherapy.  I suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome, and I know many who take marijuana who receive full relief from the condition.  If it was found to relieve a medical condition, I would take it.  For pure recreational use, no I wouldn't take it.

zhansman's picture

"So it's time to hash out" -- now that's funny right there ...

I do live in CO.  I have not heard the subject of marijuana use come up from any of the leadership at our church.  My guess is that they leave it up to one's personal conscience since it is not directly addressed in Scripture.  However I would guess that the pastors and elders would not be partakers and that they would lovingly address abuse of mj by any church member.

Todd Mitchell's picture

I'm gearing up to write a book on this. Anybody else doing so? Heard of anybody else?

Jay's picture

I don't know, but I also have no problems with the medicinal use of marijuana - there was short film by Sanjay Gupta ("Weed") for an example.  In it, there was a little girl - 5 years old or so - who uses one of the inert ingredients in weed to control Dravet's syndrome that dominated her life.  She had something like 300 seizures a week due to the disorder until they started using marijuana; the strain that they used (called Charlotte's Web) had the THC removed or greatly reduced from it, so there was no 'high' possible in the marijuana.  The growers were on the verge of destroying it because it was 'useless' until the medicinal use was demonstrated.

That being said, "medicinal" needs to be defined pretty strictly, or people will insist they 'need' it for hangnails and bunions.  I believe we've seen that already in CA. 

As is the case with alcohol - 1 Corinthians 10 applies:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.  Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I would strongly recommend that believers avoid alcohol and pot for a myriad of reasons, but because of the associations with those substances, because of the side effects of those substances, because of general wisdom and prudence, I advocate the complete abstention from both.  ESPECIALLY for people who claim to be Christ's own.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

Can someone demonstrate a time when a church in American had an anti-marijuana clause in its church covenant?

I ask for these reasons:

  • At one time  marijuana use was not illegal (or legal).  But I've yet to see a church covenant that urges members to "abstain" from  marijuana
  • What's the point of this? 
    • The abstain clause (against  alcoholic beverages) in church covenants synchs with the prohibition movement
    • At the time of the prohibition movement marijuana was illegal (source) .. so need need to call members to abstain
Ed Vasicek's picture

Jim, there are a lot of things we are against but do not enumerate.  I don't know that marijuana use was as common before the 1950's.  Sniffing lighter fluid wasn't always illegal, either.  The chemicals that make meth were (and still are) legal.  Once marijuana became big, it was illegal, so to Christians who believe we must obey the law, it wasn't an issue.


"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture


The results of this poll are very disturbing to me. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Why Tyler?

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

TylerR's picture


It is disturbing because only 45% of the respondents would choose to take a firm stand against it! This is a disturbing thing to hear from conservative Christians, let alone "fundamentalists!"  


Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

It is legal in my state (Wa.) and since we still have the alcohol prohibition I believe the same would apply.

TylerR's picture


If I remember from an earlier thread, you're in Tacoma. When I was home last, I saw a marijuana store about to open near Union and Center St. Very bizarre turn of events. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

josh p's picture

Hey Tyler, I am actually in Bremerton but I was looking for a church in Tacoma. Yeah there are Pot stores all over already. Gay marriage and legalized pot smoking! What a state. Actually I really love Wa. state but it is getting pretty rough to live in.