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This particular talk came on the Pismo Beach pier, one of our favorite spots to do pier fishing. If I remember correctly, it was probably because a lot of people smoke weed on the pier. Like. All. The. Time. 


Oaks: “Dad?”

Me: “Yes?”

Oaks: “A lot of people smoke pot on the pier.”

Me: “Yes. It has a unique smell, doesn’t it?”

Oaks: “Yeah. I don’t like it. Did you ever smoke pot?” 

Me: “No. But I have been offered it many times.”

Oaks: “Did you ever want to?” 

Me: “No, not really. I would much rather smoke a cigar.” 

Oaks: “Is it wrong to smoke pot?” 

Me: “What do you mean? Like in society?” 

Oaks: “No—in the Bible?”  

Me: “Oh. Okay. Yeah—that answer is a bit nuanced. Good question, though. Let me try and explain.”


Ahhh—so fun. The marijuana question. Well, here we go. And by the way—not an expert here. Or a doctor. 

To start, the Bible doesn’t mention marijuana—in case you were wondering. Actually, though the Bible is sufficient, there are many topics that the Bible doesn’t directly deal with. 

So what about marijuana use? I mean, it is legal to smoke in California (and many other states). 

Okay, let’s establish a key point from the beginning: Just because the state has approved or legalized something, it does not make it morally acceptable. The government is NOT the ultimate moral authority (or any moral authority). Only a being, who is eternal, separate from His creation, assuming He is good, can be the moral lawgiver for the universe. The Christian worldview argues that this moral lawgiver is God. 

Now that the divine moral authority has been established, back to the issue of marijuana use. What is marijuana? This is what the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) defines marijuana as. “Marijuana is a mind-altering (psychoactive) drug, produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana has over 480 constituents. THC (delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is believed to be the main ingredient that produces the psychoactive effect.” I would like the reader to highlight the phrase “mind-altering psychoactive drug”. 

Now to the main question, “What does the Bible say about the recreational use of marijuana?” (Please notice I make a distinction between recreational use and medical use). I have found H. W. House helpful here. 

First, intoxication clearly is forbidden in Scripture (e.g., Eph. 5:18). But though one can have a nonintoxicating dose of wine, this is not so with cannabis, especially with the potent varieties in today’s market.

Second, wine in the Bible is connected to dietary concerns and is involved in, for example, the practice of table fellowship and weddings in the Bible. We may contrast this to cannabis, which seems to have an exclusively intoxicating function. Whereas wine will intoxicate only with sustained use (and thus with restraint can have a strictly dietary use), marijuana immediately intoxicates the user.

Third, part of the reason the Bible prohibits drunkenness, it seems, is so that believers will not find themselves in a state in which they are not able to discern the will of God. Certainly, marijuana use jeopardizes this in a way that the moderate use of wine does not.

Fourth, if the Bible intended for us to use marijuana in moderation, as with wine, then why do we not find the same kinds of detailed guidelines for drugs (including marijuana) that we do for wine and other alcoholic beverages, since we know that many drugs were available and in use in the first century?

To add one more important perspective, Dr. Todd Miles, in his book Cannabis and the Christian addresses the medical potential of cannabis, stating,

“I don’t see any morally significant difference between the relief of suffering via THC and the relief of suffering via a prescribed psychoactive drug”.

Good point. Here is another gem from the mouth of Dr. Miles regarding discipleship.

“I would assume there are people in your church using marijuana, probably for medical uses and a lesser number recreationally. The sooner you can get good information into their hands and start treating this like a discipleship issue, the better.”

So there you have it. Another good question, Son. Until our next talk.