Oklahoma Christians weigh in over cannabis legalisation vote
Canada has just voted to legalise the use of cannabis. In the UK, Theresa May’s useless team of ditherers is currently tying itself in knots over the issue. And in godly Oklahoma some church leaders are urging their flock not to vote to legalise cannabis when a ballot takes place on June 26.
Said the Rev Paul Abner, above, an Assembly of God pastor who leads an anti-cannabis coalition called Oklahoma Faith Leaders:
From a spiritual standpoint, none of us can sustain the sound minds and healthy bodies God desires us to have when we place ourselves under the controlling influence of something other than the Holy Spirit.
Other religious opponents include top officials of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma – representing the state’s roughly 577,000 Southern Baptists – and the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, the public policy arm of the state’s Roman Catholic dioceses, comprising roughly 288,000 parishioners.
Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said:
My hope is that Oklahoma will vote down marijuana legalization and continue to put legal barriers between addiction and the communities it devastates.
Former state Senator Connie Johnson, a Democrat running for governor who supports the marijuana initiative, acknowledged that she sees it as the first step toward approving full recreational use.
Legalising marijuana use would help reduce Oklahoma’s mass incarceration rate, now one of the highest in the nation, said Johnson, a longtime member of the Church of the Living God in Oklahoma City.
Presbyterian minister Bobby Griffith, a member of the national group Clergy for a New Drug Policy, believes that medical marijuana in Oklahoma could help arthritis sufferers with chronic pain and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The 41-year-old husband and father has a personal reason, too, for supporting State Question 788.
For myself, I would be interested in a prescription for it to see if it works better than my anxiety and depression medications.
Republican Senator James Lankford, above, an ordained Southern Baptist pastor, blasts the ballot measure as a:
Recreational marijuana vote disguised as medical marijuana. The moral issue to me is really a family issue. The best thing for our state is not to get more parents and grandparents to smoke marijuana.
To have our communities more drug-addicted and distracted, that doesn’t help our families. It doesn’t make us more prosperous. It doesn’t make our schools more successful.
About 30 states have passed medical marijuana laws, starting with California in 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Oklahoma would be the first to do so without listing qualifying conditions. That, assert critics, would allow doctors to issue two-year marijuana licenses to patients for any reason.
Oklahomans for Health, the most vocal group rallying support for the ballot measure, says all patients and their doctors:
Should have the freedom to consider all available medical care options.