The people have spoken. On June 26, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788, which was pitched as “medical marijuana.”
Ignoring reasonable voices of caution, including U.S. Senator James Lankford and Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, as well as leaders from the business and medical community, Oklahoma has taken one giant leap toward marijuana with this step.
While this should sadden Christians, it should not completely surprise us. The way the measure was promoted, many people who approved it were not believing they were voting for a recreational use of this drug. They seemed to be acting out of compassion for those who suffer with protracted illness, even while opponents of SQ 788 demonstrated that the measure more resembled recreational than medical.
Nevertheless, now that so-called “medical marijuana” is coming to Oklahoma, what should Christians do? There are at least three things:
Wait & pray
It would be a mistake to overact to the passage of SQ 788. While efforts to push full recreational use are underway here in Oklahoma and elsewhere in the nation, we cannot panic. We need to pray for our leaders, whose job it becomes now to regulate and monitor this forthcoming law. We need to also pray that God would turn the hearts of people away from drunkenness and toward obeying the Holy Spirit.
The culture in America is increasingly in favor of marijuana use, and this state question gives marijuana a dangerous foothold in the Sooner State. Christians need to re-double our efforts on warning people—especially young people—about the spiritual and physical ramifications of these mind-altering, addictive drugs. We need to go back to the basics about why drunkenness is not only wrong and displeasing to God, but that it leads to a wasted life.
Ultimately, the “marijuana moment in America,” to borrow a phrase from Albert Mohler, is a sign of the times. The surge of marijuana legalization suggests a moral laxness. It also shows people seem to want license over laws. The Hippie movement of the 1960s, in that sense, is still in full bloom. That being said, no policy victories are permanent. If marijuana is truly dangerous and this law as poorly crafted as people warned, then the ugly side effects will begin to show up sooner or later. Until then, Christians must contend for our convictions in the marketplace of ideas, with confidence and standing on the Word of God.
As the marijuana moment marches on full speed for the time being, we know with confidence that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church will march on forever and ever.