The marijuana hoax and the hard truth
After Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana, an article appeared in the Daily Currant, a website. The article got a great deal of traction. Apparently a spoof, the article reported that 37 deaths occurred in one day from people overdosing on marijuana. The whole thing was a hoax. The deaths never occurred.
Some people, believing the article was true, spread the word via social media and millions were drawn in. One Rebecca Kelly responded thusly to the article: “So here’s a friendly reminder for you: there have been precisely zero deaths in the history of the world attributed to cannabis overdose. Sure, you can ingest too much marijuana, but your symptoms are likely to subside after a few hours and you’ll emerge with nothing more than some grogginess and a slight hangover. Cannabis certainly does not cause ‘cardiac arrests,’ ‘hypospadias’ (a birth defect pertaining to the penis), ‘acquired trimethylaminuria’ (a genetic disease that causes an offensive body odor), or ‘multiple organ failures.’”
I concede that, as far as I know, no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. That’s not my problem with the drug. At the present time, marijuana is illegal in most states. The trend seems to be toward legalization, but even that is not my problem with the drug.
Here’s my problem. Marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Granted, not everyone who takes a toke will wind up snorting cocaine, smoking meth, or injecting heroin. But it has been my experience that everyone who does snort cocaine, smokes meth, or shoots heroin didn’t start there.
No one got up in the morning and said, “I think I will go out today and destroy my life and the lives of all who care about me by doing hard drugs.” No, almost all drug addicts began with the “soft” drug — marijuana. And, in most cases, no one ever intended to become a hard-core addict.
According to a 2011 report on Good Morning America, “Drug overdoses and brain damage linked to long-term drug abuse killed an estimated 37,485 people in 2009 ... surpassing the toll of traffic accidents by 1,201. And the number is likely to rise ...” This number included prescription and illegal drugs, but the number is alarming.
In 2012, there were an estimated 22.2 million people, age 12 and older, who were classified as “substance dependant” (source: drugwarfacts.org). With the legalization of marijuana, more people, who formerly stayed away from the drug because of its illegality, will likely experiment with its use. The result will, ultimately, be a greater number of addicts.
As someone who came to age in the 1960s and as someone who has dealt with drug users and addicts for decades, I see no benefit in the recreational use of marijuana.
The article about the 37 marijuana deaths in one day may have been a joke, but the 38,000 deaths that occur each year — and the hundreds of thousands of ruined lives — as a result of drug overdoses, to which marijuana use is a contributing factor, is no laughing matter. As St. Paul said, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable”(I Cor. 10:23 NASB).
[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, Sharpsburg, GA (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese which consists of Georgia and Tennessee (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and the Associate Endorser for the Department of the Armed Forces, U.S. Military Chaplains, ICCEC. He may contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]