By David Tocco, Staff Writer

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” [1 Corinthians 13:11 – KJV Holy Bible]

As much as pro-pot activists like to make the drug seem harmless, many former users will attest to the falsehood of this claim. While not addictive in the traditional sense, there is certainly the propensity for psychological addiction. I tried to quit several times and failed. I temporarily “quit” many times, but always for the wrong reasons and never with a firm resolution. I would always consider seeking out the drug in order to indulge in that oh-so-seductive altered state of consciousness again.

That said, I have been sober for three months and I feel wonderful. This time, I know I will never use again, for this time I have quit for the right reasons. I have not quit to pass a drug test, maintain a job, or maintain my place in a government program, nor even to prevent others from judging me or to restore my reputation. This time I have quit because of my firm and unshakable belief in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and my sincere desire to obey, serve, honor, and glorify God. Now, because of my faith, I want to function at my very best in this life so that I can help as many people as possible.

Thanks to modern technology, those who wish to gain from the medical benefits of cannabis can do so without ingesting THC—the psychoactive component of marijuana, or the part that ‘gets you high.’ Cannabidiol, the source of the plant’s medicinal properties, can be easily isolated. Most who claim to use marijuana for “medicinal reasons” are simply looking for an excuse to cloud their minds with a drug while escaping social, moral, and legal obligations.

Many self-proclaimed weed connoisseurs (aka potheads) argue that the drug has absolutely no negative aspects. I was one of them. I would tell people that there is nothing negative about smoking “just a plant” . I was in denial. While not physically addictive like many other drugs, marijuana definitely presents the potential for abuse and addiction. As a daily smoker, going even one day without weed was difficult. When I did, I became agitated and would have trouble interacting socially without my daily dose of THC.

For as long as I have maintained sobriety and had no second thoughts about the matter, my life has been getting better and better. I have accomplished a lot and taken part in more positive actions in the last few months while sober than I did in the previous few years while using weed. This would not have been possible if I had remained enslaved, even to a minor degree, to weed. While smoking weed, my motivation was just not there. All I wanted to do was vegetate, think about “deep” subjects, have mindless conversations, or watch pointless videos—all while pretending that weed was enlightening me or that I was enlightening myself. Eventually I would drift off to sleep, but not before consuming dangerous amounts of junk food because of the “munchies”—another harmful byproduct of marijuana use.

Weed also caused me to become a secretive person. I chose to isolate myself from anyone who did not share my habit. Whenever something causes you shame and forces you to hide from others, this should raise a red flag that the activity is a harmful one.

Unfortunately, both proponents and adversaries of marijuana promote propaganda, rather than facts. There is a high demand for weed and, as a result, it is a multi-billion dollar international industry. To protect their stake in this industry, those who actually supply marijuana generate their own persuasive campaigns. Sure, the government puts out its fair share of propaganda, but so do those making billions of dollars in profit from the plant.

Just to clarify: I am in favor of legalization. I do not feel the government has the authority to tell anyone what they can and cannot put into their bodies and I feel that legalization would actually cause less people to try the drug and encourage more to quit.

Yes, I have vaporized and experimented with edibles – those methods bring many of the same negative consequences as smoking it. And yes, I have tried different strains of the plant – they do not differ as much as suppliers would like you to think.

Let me once again stress that it is my Christian faith which makes me so firm in my convictions and motivates me to write this. My desire is that others can hear, and hopefully consider, another perspective. I did not come to the conclusion I have without much conversation and counsel from fellow believers on both sides of the issue or without much meditation and prayer. In the end, searching the Holy Scriptures gave me the clear guidance I was seeking. The inspired, preserved, and perfect King James Bible tells me to remain sober and how to do so, and even warns believers about the dire consequences of not maintaining a clear and alert mind: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” [1 Peter 5:8]. But somehow these warnings were not what I needed to hear most. The verse that sealed the deal for me was 1 Thessalonians 5:22, which tells me, so succinctly, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” This reminds me that even if it were somehow not a sin to indulge in cannabis, it is something that is widely seen as being sinful. If I do not need it and function at my optimum level without it, the best thing for me to do is to avoid it completely so as not to risk legal problems or, more importantly, risk damaging my testimony in any way.