Can an Evangelical Christian Family Sell Medical Marijuana?

A couple of years ago, Pat Robertson said something sensible (bear with me here) about marijuana:

“There’s something else we’ve got to recognize. We’re locking up people who take a couple of puffs of marijuana, and the next thing you know, they’ve got ten years. They’ve got mandatory sentences. These judges say, they throw up their hands and say there’s nothing we can do, there’s mandatory sentences. We’ve got to take a look at what we’re considering crimes and that’s one of them. I mean, I’m not exactly for the use of drugs, don’t get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, and that kind of thing, I mean it’s just costing us a fortune and it’s ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths, and they come out as hardened criminals and it’s not a good thing.”

Those comments might help explain the apparently hypocrisy of a medical marijuana dispensary in California… that is run by an evangelical Christian family:

Canna Care of Sacramento, a family owned dispensary known for supplying medical marijuana and advocating for decriminalization, evangelizes and prays with its customers. Canna Care oversees group prayers in a typical day around 6:00 p.m. and has handed out an estimated 3,000 Bibles to those who come for their services.

As you might expect, some commenters at the Christian Post are saying these aren’t True Christians.

The argument made by the Christians is that medical marijuana is all about helping people deal with pain. It’s about compassion. It’s not about getting high:

[Kris Hermes, spokesperson for the nationwide pro-marijuana legalization group Americans for Safe Access, said] “The relationship between faith-based groups and medical marijuana is certainly healthier and more focused on compassion than the relationship between medical marijuana and law enforcement.”

I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if many of the Christians who support this dispensary also support marijuana legalization in general. They don’t hold the extreme belief that marijuana is somehow worse than other banned substances and understand the reality of what it does and doesn’t do. If only more Christians could be that sensible about other social issues.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    meth has done a lot to change to narrative and political landscape on the right. because, frankly, lots and lots of white people have been sucked into the hellhole of the drug war because of meth use. 

    i have been fascinated by this process. i’m old enough to remember the evolution of the discourse about drugs that came about as a result of the introduction of crack in urban communities when it first came out. i was, um, i hesitate to use the word “fortunate” but anyway at the time the people i knew who used crack were all rich, and white. 

    when it just came out, the hard coke snorters were all like “dood, this shit rocks!” shortly after that, it became, or was supposed to have become, the “drug of choice” for welfare queens driving cadillacs and smokin up all your (white people’s) hard earned tax dollars that are forced to pay for gummint programs. for users who were black.

    the reality was very different. 

    today, who are filling up jail cells, costing tax payers billions, and clogging ERs across the land? as the commercial goes, “drug addiction! it’s not just for brown people anymore!”

    if i had to bet, i’d bet that good old Pat had a conversation with jeebus about Pat’s 2nd cousin, or whatever, who is currently serving out a 3 strikes law lifer term in Angola, but who also has a highly placed donating blue hair fambly member. 

    who is key to the grifter fund that keeps fundie TV and pat in gold plated Depends. her little grand-angel was wrongly sucked up in a corrupt system and if Pat doesn’t stop talking about the wrongly, helplessly addicted on his show, she’ll stop writing those six figure checks for jeebus. 

    so now, we get “Pat Robertson, JeebusGrifter for Pot!” cause they will say anything. always. 

  • James

    I’m so high right now. How’d I end up here?

  • Pseudonym

     Never have the words more truly been spoken…

    BONG HITS 4 JESUS

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s a matter of convenience. 

    My DNA donors lost custody of me because they were more interested in smoking pot all day than…Well, really anything else. My grandparents ended up with me. As you could probably guess, they were vehemently anti-pot.

    Then my grandmother’s cancer went out of remission, and suddenly pot was a blessing from god himself. 

    Note: This post is not meant to imply that I have anything against medical pot. Just stating anecdotal experience. 

    • John

       To be fair, you could make a similar argument about any other addiction, many of which are entirely legal *coughalcoholcough*

      • Baby_Raptor

        Yup. I can’t protest much, as I’ve been a smoker for almost 10 years. A lot of people dislike my habit, so it could just as easily be me they’re targeting instead of pot smokers.

  • cipher

    Obama should have been pushing for drug legislation reform all along. When Pat Robertson speaks sensibly about a subject and Obama behaves irresponsibly about it – the world is officially too insane to go on living in.

    • viddy_well

      Obama’s rage inducing response: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuqvcMDqMn8

      • cipher

        Well, I’m certainly not going to defend him, but he was answering the question, “Would legalizing marijuanan grow our economy?” I don’t think it would do much for it – on the other hand, did he dismiss it for that reason, or because he knew it was what was expected of him?

        Of course, he should have been pushing for its decriminilzation on moral grounds. I’d like to say I’m sorry I voted for him, but for whom was I going to vote – Mittens?`

        • viddy_well

          I disagree that it wouldn’t do much; we’re talking about billions in tax dollars and thousands of new jobs.

          Regardless, he apparently ignored a question from a former LAPD Deputy Chief on legalization in general: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvNmYA3ZPPs

          • cipher

             Well, maybe you’re right.

            • viddy_well

              I really hope it’s just politics and now with Colorado and Washington legalizing it we can start having a rational conversation on the topic.

              • cipher

                Rational conversation?  Surely you’re joking. This is America.

                The last rational conversation we had in this country was during WW II – and the only reason it was rational was that it was about rations.

                • lefty

                  meanwhile the “struggling american family” has iphones and cable television. i don’t understand that.

      • RobMcCune

        It was 3 years ago, who knows, maybe his views will have “evolved.”

  • Coyotenose

    As long as smoking and selling is legal where they are, I don’t see any contradiction for a Christian doing this. Hmm, never thought I’d see an issue where the Bible didn’t present five different answers, go figure.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Wait, wait, isn’t there that bit in Genesis about God giving “every seed-bearing herb” for mankind’s use?

    • Pseudonym

      It doesn’t mention buds, though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6OE7LEYELE4MZTVXGZUSVTBFUI julie

    I understand why there’s a debate about the legalization of marijuana, even if I am completely for it.
    I cannot for the life of me understand why medical marijuana is debated. There are all kinds of drugs that are illegal for recreational use, but legal for medicinal purposes. Why is marijuana any different? It’s far less dangerous when overused than other prescription drugs.

  • C Peterson

    The heck with MJ. How can a person with any moral standards at all grow and distribute tobacco- something that is purely recreational, has no medicinal value, and causes untold pain and suffering and economic damage? Yet tobacco is produced in the reddest of red states, and is a major economic product of the Bible Belt. Go figure.

    • John

       Because it makes them a lot of money, and their money is more important than people’s lungs.

  • Baal

    While I’m shocked to agree with Pat (evil uncle chuckles) about anything,  I view this more like and accidental word or two being typed by a meth addled hamster running across a keyboard than a rationally considered position (i.e. he’s right by accident).

    • Brian Scott

      I don’t think so, not in this case. His reasoning was good. It’s just that he squares off everything else so that the same logic doesn’t apply to them.

      All this is probably helped by the fact that drugs in general just wasn’t an issue in the Bible. Heck, if I remember rightly, there’s even a line somewhere in Proverbs or somewhere that recommends liquor to relieve melancholy and despondency. The Jews weren’t above using a little chemical assistance now and then.

      Edit: yep, here it is http://bible.cc/proverbs/31-6.htm

  • Ricy Mardona

    Good article. Got lots of information from this blog. Thanks for sharing.


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