Categories Menu

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Culture | 2 comments

Is marijuana ‘no more dangerous’ than alcohol?

Is marijuana ‘no more dangerous’ than alcohol?

In a recent interview with New Yorker magazine, President Barack Obama was quoted as saying this:

“As has been well-documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. … I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

While he discouraged the use of marijuana, the President’s statement is dangerous and a problem for several reasons.

People listen to the President

As Christians, we know that God will hold us accountable for every word we utter (Matt. 12:37). At the same time, the President of the United States has an especially important platform. What he says can greatly sway opinion, including among young people, not to mention affect behavior and laws.

For him to downplay marijuana use as merely a “bad habit” is irresponsible and undermines other sources of authority (e.g. parents, pastors) who are trying to warn young people against the real dangers of marijuana.

What’s worse, in almost every state, the use of marijuana is illegal, and for the president to compare it with legal substances like alcohol and cigarettes, undermines the laws of those states and adds fuel to the fire of those who are seeking to legalize marijuana. Of all the problems our society has, too much strictness on our “freedom” to use substances is not one of them.

Marijuana is always an inebriant

A just-married couple sips a glass of champagne on their wedding night. A Lutheran drinks wine during the communion ceremony. During these acts—and many just like them—the people ingesting alcohol are likely not doing so with the intent of becoming intoxicated.

While I think there is a strong case to be made for Christians to abstain altogether from alcohol, everyone admits the use of alcohol does not always cause drunkenness. In the case of marijuana use, however, it always acts as an inebriant.

Why is being inebriated so bad? You do not have to look through very many headlines to see instances where an inebriated person did damage to themselves and others. A drunk driver crashes and kills another. Someone growing marijuana in their apartment sparks a fire that burns down the building. While accidents happen every day, they are highly more likely to happen when people are intoxicated.

Bad for children

The ones with the most to lose when people use marijuana are children, especially those who are directly or indirectly affected by the users. We spend millions of dollars advertising against second-hand smoke, but we smile and laugh when movies portray the use of “pot.”

We encourage parents to be aware and alert to the safety and needs of their children, then we condone the use of marijuana, which makes users less aware of the needs of children around them.

Time after time, we read about people who are on drugs, harming those around them. With marijuana, it may not necessarily be acts of violence, but it is often acts of negligence that do the most harm.

America is facing a crisis of the family and a huge upsurge of children in need of responsible parents (through foster care and adoption), so the last thing we need is to add more marijuana users to the population.

As a concluding note, I would add that drug use is not the unforgivable sin. While we should strongly argue against anyone seeking to legalize more drug use or convince others it’s “no big deal,” we must have compassion on those who are addicted and seek to bring to justice those who deal drugs to the most vulnerable in our society.

While I am sure the President may not have intended his words to make a negative contribution toward anybody, I respectfully ask he reconsider his words and position on this key issue.

About The Author

Brian Hobbs twitter

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

Brian Hobbs has blogged 224 posts at

2 responses to “Is marijuana ‘no more dangerous’ than alcohol?”

  1. Hardrock1a says:

    So let me get this straight, you would rather have your kids experiment with alcohol than regulated cannabis? One can kill them, one won’t. One makes them think they are invincible, one makes them cautious. One is the leading contributing factor to domestic violence and sexual assault, one makes people easy going and happy and still in control. You do realize that it is easier for a kid to get weed that it is for them to get alcohol, ask any high school aged kid. If you want to protect your kids, legalize it. That takes it out of the hands of the criminals and puts the control and regulation in OUR hands. Rather than letting the criminals profit, we put that money back into the economy. We know who is selling it, that what they are selling is tested for potency and purity (no molds, insecticides, or adulterating substances), when they are selling it and most importantly, TO WHOM they are selling, ADULTS!! The businesses are licensed, tax paying, employers.

    You have more mini Escobar’s in schools than mini Capone’s, because their is no money in legal booze. But all kinds of money from illegal drugs.

    By legalizing, you don’t condone it, you don’t say its ok for kids, ask a smoker if they feel its condoned. Your the parent, you have to guide and educate your kid, but ultimately they are going to choose their own path. If they find that you have lied to them, whether you think you have or not, you lose their respect. If that path they choose happens to cross with Cannabis and the Cops, do you really want them saddled with a criminal record so they can’t get a student loan or a decent job?

    Prohibition did not work in the 20’s and its not working today. Its making criminals rich. Its stressing our criminal justice system. Prohibition is money hole, that we are throwing billions down every year, and getting ZERO return on that “investment” except a militarized police force and rampant gang crime and a bloated prison system that we have to pay for. The current “school to prison” model is not an effective model for a strong society. Prohibition is the evil that is ultimately responsible for the 60,000 lost innocent lives in Mexico.

    When we prohibit something that enough people want, you AUTOMATICALLY cede control of that to the people you don’t want controlling anything. Anyone that continues to support prohibition is really saying that they want the drug cartels and gangs to continue growing in power. The year after prohibition ended, the murder rate in this country fell back to pre-prohibition levels. It is prohibition that creates the criminals.

    Stop looking at the problem myopically, cannabis prohibition causes far more problems than cannabis ever could.

  2. Wade says:

    Ok – several things Brian……

    1. Read your blog. Loved it Don’t know if those are your independent thoughts, but they aligned with what most educated sociologists know and have concluded.

    2. Your lone responder is off base. His response is full of opinion and several unfounded conclusions. Actually – students of history know prohibition did work and many lives were saved during that time. As long as we continue to elect leaders based on what they promise to give us, eventually we will only be left with what they allow us to have.

    3. The “bad” guys are involved with pot (MJ) because it IS illegal. You want a least common denominator for substance abuse. It is like tetris – you get rid of the bottom rung and the next higher level is now the “lowest” . As a society – you don’t want meth or cocaine being the first thing kids experiment with. And many people are unwilling to accept that the illegal drug of choice for minors is alcohol. It is NOT legal for minors to drink or for adults to provide it.

    It is kind of like in prison. When they make them tobacco free facilities, the inmates started chasing tobacco instead of MJ. Tobacco becomes the least common denominator for “illegal” activity.

    4. The “Capone” and drug lord argument doesn’t hold water and actually supports your position. The gangs moved up to drugs when alcohol became legal. You want to deal with little “Escobars” because you ALWAYS want to protect minors from anything which is detrimental to their development. There is “all kinds of money” in numerous illegal activities. Doesn’t mean they should be legal.

    5. The economic argument is decades old and still smells to high heaven. Making something easy and “legal” just to capture taxes and prevent people from ruining their lives tends to ruin even more lives than before it was legal. (See: Divorce, abortion, pornography, prostitution, gaming, Strip Clubs etc….)

    6. I wouldn’t lose sleep over a demographic that believes if you want something badly enough it should be a right. The sad thing is a President who would discount recreational drug use to young people as a minor vice and undermine their parents, teachers, coaches youth ministers etc.. and glorify its’ use. Might as well say “Hey – wanna be hip like me? Go buy a few bags …. it didn’t hurt me”. ( BTW – Alcohol is not the leading contributor to sexual assault – there are not millions of drunken rapists roaming the streets because they binged)

    Wade Crews