The Dongola Times

(Anachronistic) Dispatches from the Kingdom of Makuria.
25th of August, 2014

On Cannabis and Legalism

I ended up saying this to a guy on the web. Follow:
I have always found it interesting how many cults prohibit smoking …
But you, my dear beloved brother Ted, also says similar things about cannabis, which is far, far less-harmful than tobacco, and is indeed medicinal, and basically non-toxic. It is even less-addictive than alcohol (to say nil of tobacco), and is a crucial medicine for cases that literally cannot be treated any other way (because, until recent research on cannabis, doctors neither knew about the endo-cannabinoid system, or even how to fix any of the problems that affect it).

All legalists dwell on “touch not, taste not”, including you Roman Catholics. This kind of thing is not so much a feature of cults as it is a feature of all who are unaware of what the Gospel of Jesus Christ reveals to us about the Law, the flesh, and true righteousness before God—which is by faith.
All legalists also dwell on “these things that pass away with usage,” never realising that, for instance, it is less-respectful of your body, and more-harmful, to eat McDonald’s than to smoke a joint. I could extend this to driving cars, surfing Facebook, or whatever. We (Reformed) don’t lack “bad things” to forbid; we just lack legalism. We could extend The Sermon on the Mount with millions of real examples, enjoining and forbidding everything less-than-perfect, but we prefer to preach the Gospel instead. These forbiddings and injunctions have absolutely no power to control sin in the flesh; they are only useful to make people aware that they are sinning. That’s all. They never even change behaviour; they only permit guilt or self-righteousness, depending on whether we are being pharisaical (standards of holiness other than “be perfect as your Father is perfect”) or being “zacchæcal” (as in, “like Zacchæus”, like the other tax-collector who went home justified).

The only reason I don’t lump your (uncharacteristically) poorly-researched position on cannabis with what the heretics do is because you are truly a Christian and I truly respect Romans 14. I understand that your branch of the Church almost fears to countenance with Romans 14 (or Colossians 2, or …), but then “you who are strong in faith, bear with those who are weak.” So I will not argue about cannabis with you, my beloved dear brother Theodore, even though you are wrong on it. (And, by the way, I would strongly urge against ever smoking tobacco. Nicotine is one of the most-addictive things we know of, is a very potent poison—having started out as a poisoning agent—and it is a systemic carcinogenic; as in, not just the lungs, but the entire body. It’s not the smoking that causes tobacco-related cancer; it is the nicotine.)