On his program, “The Briefing” (March 15, 2019) Albert Mohler describes the pressure that is building for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. The bottom line is that there is money to be made. Much of Mohler’s program is devoted to an article in Fortune magazine entitled “Pot Goes Legit: How to Bet on America’s Next Growth Industry.” Marijuana has already been legalized in Canada and is reported to be “big business.” American companies are already making billions by investing in Canada, but they desire an opportunity to expand their business into the United States. With big business on board, the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and then recreational use seems inevitable.
Mohler reports that in order to promote marijuana, big business plans to use Martha Stewart as an endorser and even to market it as a product for pets:
In the business section of the New York Times on Saturday, March the second, an article telling us that Martha Stewart, yes, that Martha Stewart, is also deciding to get into the cannabis business. Laura M. Holson reports, “She is better known for a love of copper pots than pot brownies, and the only cherry pie she seems to indulge in has a crust and is baked in the oven, but Martha Stewart, who built an empire as the doyen of domesticity, has teamed up with a Canadian cannabis company to create and promote a new line of hemp-based CBD products.”
The newspaper then asks the question, “Could this be a new era of cush cuisine?” By the way, just when you think this story couldn’t get more bizarre, it sounds like something written as satire, but it’s not. It appeared in the business pages of the New York Times. Consider this paragraph. Pay attention, especially to how it ends. “Bruce Linton, chief executive of the Ontario-based company Canopy Growth Corporation, says Ms. Stewart would have an advisory role and assist with the development and brand positioning of a new line of offerings for humans and animals. He said they hope to introduce something for pets soon, which they are currently developing.” Just pause and consider for a moment what this tells us. It tells us that there are people who are now falling head over heels, perhaps literally, by the way, in order to get into the cannabis industry. They need to find a new angle.
One of the new angles is getting Martha Stewart to be an advisor to the corporation and a public symbol. The other is developing lines of cannabis-based products for pets. That’s right. Fido needs his marijuana, too.
Mohler also reports about the plans of Barneys New York, a high-end retailer, that indicate how much big businesses have determined to embrace and market marijuana. He writes,
Barneys New York will unveil a shop selling cannabis-related accoutrements including blown glass pipes and 24 karat gold rolling papers at its Beverly Hills flagship next month. Again, a sign of the times. We’re talking about Barneys New York, in its Beverly Hills flagship store, opening a shop that is going to sell the coolest and most luxurious cannabis and marijuana accessories of all, blown glass pipes and 24 karat gold rolling papers. As you’re thinking about what this means in moral change, how moral change happens, just remember that we have trace to the similar kinds of trajectories of the normalization, the vast moral change, on the questions of homosexuality, specifically looking at same sex marriage, and also at the legitimization and the normalization of marijuana. This article gets right to it: “Barneys believes that by lending its craftsmanship and cache to cannabis related products, some of the stigma may fall away.”
Mohler pounces on the word “stigma,” which indicates that the legalization and use of marijuana is not simply an economic matter; it is a moral matter. Mohler’s explains that in this sinful, fallen world, too often moral issues are settled on the basis of economic considerations. Just as businesses have accepted and promote the LGBTQ lifestyle because they see how they can use it to make money, they will now embrace marijuana if they see their way to profits. Too often the moral issues—the “stigmas”—get easily swept aside.
But there are issues regarding marijuana that we (especially Christians!) should consider very seriously. Mohler touches on only some of the issues in his article. He explains that there is evidence that links marijuana usage to suicide, schizophrenia, car crashes, lowered IQ, and violence.
Mohler does not address some of the other questions that need serious consideration. What do we think of marijuana’s medicinal use, and how is it different from other painkilling drugs? What do we think of its recreational use? Is it possible to use marijuana “moderately,” like tobacco or alcohol, or does it so alter the mind that it is always sinful for a Christian to use? My inclination is to say it is best to abstain from marijuana and that the church should strictly forbid its use. We have enough other problems, let’s just keep this one out. But Mohler’s report reminds us that we will not so easily answer and dismiss marijuana and all the questions that arise regarding its use.
However, we can clearly see that a moral turning is taking place. There was, but soon no longer will be, a stigma attached to using marijuana in our society. Much as the stigma is wearing off concerning homosexuality, so much so that it is possible that a “married” homosexual man will be the nominee for president for one of our major political parties in 2020 (“Mayor Pete”). So, when it comes to marijuana, let’s be reminded as Christians of our calling not to keep up with the world but to be different.