Recreational Marijuana: When Legal and Beneficial Aren’t Synonymous

Laura Lacey Johnson | Contributor to | Monday, January 8, 2018

Recreational Marijuana: When Legal and Beneficial Aren’t Synonymous

We live in a day when the laws of our land don’t necessarily represent what is healthy, moral, or wise.

Consider, for example, the recent controversy that lit up about legalized recreational marijuana.

On January 1, California became the latest and largest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Immediately, “pot shops” started springing up. However, a massive policy reversal from the Justice Department has created a conflict between state and federal law, leaving people wondering if they can still buy legal weed.

Although some claim its medical benefits, marijuana possession remains illegal under federal law. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

Eight states have legalized marijuana for recreational use: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington (and Washington, D.C.).  Also, a 2017 Gallup Poll, showed at least 64 percent of Americans say marijuana should be made legal.

This issue underscores why the words legal and beneficial are not necessarily synonymous.

We’ve come to a point in our society where many people prefer to trade physical, mental, and emotional health for money, personal freedom, and favorable opinion polls.

That’s why we must train our minds to think well.

The following scripture comes to mind:

“All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

While the apostle Paul was talking about food sacrificed to idols, he made a point that is still relevant to our culture today:

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

Scripture teaches us to be alert and “sober” (1 Peter 5:8).

God’s word also tells us to value our physical body because:

  1. Jesus Christ paid a high price for our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and
  2. God considers our bodies sacred, calling them a temple for the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

My kids and I recently had a good conversation after watching a television news story about the legalization of recreational marijuana in California. I got the challenging task of explaining how behavior that has been proven unwise is now legal.

They’re smart kids, living in unique times.

More than anything else, I want my kids to be excellent thinkers and:

To recognize what is wise and what isn’t.

To think counter-culturally and lead others to do the same.

To demonstrate why Jesus said his followers are the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14-16).

When novelist Robert Louis Stevenson was a small boy, his nanny called him for bedtime. Oblivious to her summons, Stevenson stared at something outside his window. The nanny walked over, stood at his shoulder, and inquired patiently, “Robert, what are you looking at?” Without taking his eyes away from the window, Stevenson exclaimed in wonder as he pointed to the lamplighter who was lighting the streetlamps, “Look, Nanny! That man is putting holes in the darkness!”

The culture around us gets dark at times.

Let’s shine the light of Christ and put as many holes into the darkness as we can.


Laura Lacey Johnson is a cutting-edge faith and culture writer who focuses on everyday headlines. In addition to speaking, she is a regular contributor to and American Family Radio. To read Laura’s latest work on the headlines, or to subscribe to her blog, visit

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Publication date: January 8, 2018


Recreational Marijuana: When Legal and Beneficial Aren’t Synonymous