Open Letter About My Advocacy of Marijuana Legalization
I am writing you this open letter because you recently made a comment on a Facebook post I recently made about cannabis’ ability to fight and sometimes cure cancer. I can understand your curiosity towards my interest in and position on this sensitive issue, and because I have been asked about my stance on and activism for the legalization of marijuana by others in the past, I felt I could address all of these questions and concerns in an open letter posted to my blog so that you and others could comment.
First, why would it be more understandable if I were a student at a secular university? I guess I just don’t understand your statement, because I would still be the same person that I am now even if I were going to a secular university. I would still be a Christian, and I would still feel the same way I do now about the prohibition of marijuana, I would still feel the same way I do about the complete failure we call the “War on Drugs,” and I would still be supportive of those who are fighting for its legalization. I would still stand 100% theologically, politically, and personally behind the idea that the cannabis plant was created by God with exactly the medicinal, industrial, nutritional, and recreational uses that it has, and that when it is used in a proper and responsible manner can be beneficial to and good for those who use it. I would also still hold the belief that it should be a person’s right to choose what they put into their bodies, and I would still believe that our Founding Father’s would completely agree with me on this last point (For the benefit of those who didn’t read the original post, the quote I used in the post, which is actually a paraphrase from Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on Virgina, was: “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny”). I don’t think the fact that the school at which I attend forbids the use of alcohol and drugs is in any way contradictory to or in direct conflict with my activism in the fight for marijuana legalization. I don’t have to have all the same beliefs as the school at which I attend, and I don’t have to agree with everything they say and do (as my disapproval of and dislike for the firing on Dr. LeDonne would indicate). I am not on here advocating people should get high all day and/or some crazy party lifestyle, I am advocating the legalization of a simple plant with sometimes seemingly miraculous potential, and an almost innumerable amount of industrial and medicinal uses, not to mention its nutritional and recreational uses.
As to what the majority of students at LCU post about, this is simply a red herring. It is neither here nor there what other students post about, and my devotion to and love for God is not measured in the amount (or frequency) of status’ that I post about my faith, but in the walk I have with my Creator and Savior. I would concede to you the point that to outsiders such as yourself, who do not interact with me anywhere else except for on social media like Facebook, it seems like I may be “Obsessed” with the topic of marijuana legalization, but that is only because I don’t tend to use Facebook or even Twitter very often any more, and when I do, it is usually because I have been reading information on a topic about which I am passionate, and I want to share that information with people whom I care about and am acquainted with who may not know the truth about Cannabis.
True, you could try to here argue that if I were reading my Bible more, or reading about Jesus more I would be posting about it more than I am about marijuana, but that would only be based on the false assumption that every time I read something of interest I post about it. Many times, God is speaking to me throughout the day and most of the time the lessons are personal ones that I don’t feel inclined to post about.
This is where Nick makes an excellent point, when he states that it is not extra-biblical to find objective medicinal benefits in a plant that God created. I personally would go a step further and assert that there is a Biblical mandate to speak forth and fight for truth, and to fight against injustice. This is exactly what I am trying to do by making the numerous posts that I make either about the medicinal benefits of marijuana, or on the failure of the drug war and prohibition to stop or even curb drug use in this country, and the millions of dollars of tax money we waste fighting a war we can’t win. I am trying to speak truth to people who would otherwise never hear the other side to the story of marijuana. Since grade school, so many of us are only told one side of the story about marijuana, and most of the things they have heard are either misleading or outright false. It is a plant that has the potential to be abused, but it also has the potential to do great good in the world. It is not something the government should be wasting money on, and this is especially so when our government is continuing to ignore the facts staring it in the face. This is what I mean when I say that I am fighting against injustice. There is a lot of injustice going on when nearly a quarter of the persons incarcerated in this country are for non-violent drug offenses. This injustice extends not only to the persons who are being mandatorily locked up for drug possession or sale, but also to the tax payers who are paying for the prisons that are already overcrowded. The conditions that the prisoners experience in these overcrowded prisons is sub-par and such close proximity leads to escalations in prisoner violence, which puts the lives of the prisoners and the guards at risk. Many patients who are currently suffering could find relief and healing from the legalization of marijuana, and many states would benefit from the tax revenue gained by the medicinal marijuana industry. When our government is going after seriously sick persons whose only crime is trying to find some relief or healing from the symptoms they suffer, we have serious cases of injustice going on that we as Christians have every right to fight against in the name of Jesus Christ. This is an area where I feel called to fight, and so fight I will until this injustice is remedied. I am not asking for you to fully understand or support the cause for which I fight, though I am asking you to respect it and try to be open-minded and open-hearted about it.
I understand that you may not agree with me on the topic of whether or not marijuana should be legalized, and I can even understand if you are skeptical about the medicinal benefits of it (though there is plenty of well documented and scientifically verified research done in this area), but I don’t understand why you find my passion for and activism in the fight for the legalization of marijuana “odd.” You may think I post on it too much, and you may think I should be posting more “Faith” oriented status’, but it is my life, and my Facebook account, and I as a citizen of the United States of America, as a fellow Christian, and as a human being have the right (at the moment at least) to think, say, do, and feel as I see fit, and what I post and with what frequency falls under that right as well. You have the right to think about, listen to, ignore, dismiss, or even ridicule my position. I merely believe that people should be allowed the opportunity to know the truth, so I try to provide opportunities for others to learn and grow in understanding on a topic about which I am passionate, and about which I believe many are misinformed on. I am simply trying to fight for a cause of truth against an injustice I believe is being obstinately perpetuated by our government in the face of facts to the contrary.
You are probably right to point out (though you did so in a way that felt like a jab) that other people are using Facebook to “fight for the cause of Christ” more so than I am. You may be right that I could be fighting for the cause of Christ, rather than the cause of marijuana, but I don’t think you understand that I AM fighting for the cause of Christ while I am fighting for the cause of marijuana legalization! I say this because not only do I believe that Christ calls us to Speak Truth and Spread Love as we fight against lies and injustices, but also because the connections I build as I network and unite with others as we fight for legalization allows me to speak the Truth of Jesus Christ into their lives. I have had multiple conversations with atheists, non-believers, and sinners (you know, the people who fall short just like you and me, and who also need the love of Christ and the salvation that only He can bring) about Christ because of the opportunities those connections have afforded me.
I do not separate my love of Christ from my belief that marijuana could be beneficial to thousands if not millions if only we would legalize and tax it. My faith in God and my fight for legalization come from the same heart that loves the Lord our God with all that I am, and strives each day to surrender myself to Him. I have tried and I have tried and I have tried to stop sinning, and I have tried to live a good life for God, but I fail, and miserably so most times. I fuck up each and every day, in both the way I interact with God and others, yet each day He forgives me, and each day He calls me to Himself for healing, for forgiveness, for courage, and for encouragement. He gives me life and He gives me love. He also gives me correction and rebuke. For all of this I thank and praise Him. Without his daily grace, I would be condemned to hell at least ten thousand times over (Which by the way is why come thou Font is my favorite hymn, with my favorite line being, “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee.”). God is my passion, and my King. My Creator and my Redeemer. God saved me because he saw value and worth in me and because He has a purpose for me that I can only begin to hint at fathoming, and I fight for Cannabis because I see value and worth and a purpose in this simple plant that grows in almost every climate on nearly every continent and which has so many valuable purposes I could not even begin to name them all. The research is all out there, all you have to do is look. I don’t expect everyone to be as passionate as I am about this fight, but it is indeed a fight about which I am passionate (as this letter and its length attest) and so obsessive I sometimes seem. But I will tell you all here that my passion for God is in no way hindered and in many ways helped by passion for this pungent plant.
I hope this long letter has addressed the issues that it needed to, and as this is an open letter, I hope that everyone who has read this through may also be blessed by its content. I fight for marijuana because I see that it has the potential to be utilized in so many beneficial ways, and that its responsible use would eliminate many of the negative issues most people have with it. I am not out here advocating that people should be getting high all day and breaking the law, even if that is a stance others who advocate marijuana legalization would take. I am on here advocating the legalization of marijuana and the changing of unjust laws that don’t accomplish what they claim to have been created to accomplish. I am trying to spread the truth about this injustice to others, and am trying to speak the truth of Jesus Christ while I do it. If I am failing to do what God has called me to do, then only I am answerable to God for that. If I am succeeding, I pray that God would use my activism to speak truth and spread love to others who may benefit, and I pray that He will provide me more opportunities to speak to and love on non-believers and believers alike as I fight for a cause I feel driven towards and passionate about.
May God bless you immensely for reading this far and hearing me out on this topic about which I am passionate (had I mentioned before how passionate I am about this? *wink*). I encourage you specifically Rick, and you whoever else you are reading this far, to respond to this if you feel you should, and I will do my best to humbly, respectfully, and graciously respond and interact with anyone willing to take the time to comment on this.
In Truth with Love,
Derek J. Brent