It's a sad day when the
official platform of a major political party -- in this case, the
Democratic Party of Colorado -- openly endorses the legalization of
recreational marijuana in their state. That group was the first
major state party in the U.S. to do so in 2012, despite the efforts
of several underfunded opponents to defeat these bad initiatives in
Colorado and Washington state.
Despite the unfortunate loss at the polls in those two states,
we should be proud of the efforts of organizations like the
American Family Association for sending out well over 82,000 emails
to people in three states (Oregon also considered a similar
initiative) in an attempt to dissuade people to vote in favor of
Nevertheless, in November the majority of the voting public in
Colorado and Washington approved legalization of recreational pot;
voters in Oregon did not. Opposition to this effort was much more
organized in Oregon. Opponents of the initiative in Oregon did a
good job in communicating their message. Even the liberal
newspaper, The Oregonian, editorialized against legalizing
In Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper (D) seemed giddy when he
recently signed into law Amendment 64, which now makes recreational
pot legal in his state. Colorado's law tells us that adults over
the age of 21 can now freely use the substance "but not in public."
Already, that "public" provision is being challenged openly by
users in Denver. Pot smokers by the dozens have been filmed
lighting up on state grounds all around the State Capitol. It will
be interesting to see if Colorado police will uphold this provision
of the new law.
Still, far too many people -- including notable church leaders
and ministry spokespersons in Colorado -- simply would not take a
stand on the issue of recreational pot.
I remember conferring, as spokesman for
MarijuanaHarmsFamilies.com, with more than 60 church leaders
regarding California's attempt to legalize recreational pot during
the 2010 election cycle. Approximately a third of the church
leaders I spoke to refused to take a stand against that California
initiative (Prop. 19). Fortunately, we were successful that year in
stopping marijuana advocates such as Peter Lewis (CEO of
Progressive Insurance), thanks in large part to the support of the
California Chamber of Commerce and -- surprisingly -- Latino and
African-American voters in Southern California.
Yet this year, the outcome was much different in Colorado and
Washington. For families in those two states, the legalization of
recreational pot will have negative consequences. It seems
inevitable they will see an increase in their state's public health
costs, decreased academic performance, decreased productivity among
the workforce, and increased traffic accidents. But perhaps the
most prominent change will be the noticeable increase of pot use
among teenagers and young people.
Over 20 years ago, citizens in the state of Alaska saw the
damaging effects of legalizing this substance after state
legislators did so in the 1980s. Practically overnight, use of pot
almost tripled among teens. Wisely, Alaskan state legislators
overturned their decision in 1990.
Even today we see what regular pot use is doing to too many high
school students across America. Regular marijuana use among
Americans has increased 13 percent (from 15 to 17 million) in just
the last four years.
As Christians, we offer a personal solution to such negative
issues. Please join me in providing a positive response to
substance abuse of all kinds -- encourage pastors to speak out
against substance abuse ... encourage educators not to water down
the facts about the consequences of drug abuse ... and above all,
pray for your family members and friends who are struggling with
substance abuse, that they will find strength in the Lord to defeat
the evil hiding behind the substances they crave.
James Lambert is a licensed nationwide real-estate mortgage
loan sales agent in Southern California and a regular contributor
to OnenewsNow. He is available to speak in public forums about the
damaging consequences of using recreational marijuana. He is the
author of 16
Amazing Stories, which includes several testimonies of
individuals who, with God's help, overcame substance
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