Is it okay to smoke marijuana if I have a medical permit?

Question from a reader:

If everything God made is good, then what do you think about marijuana? It's obvious that God made opiates for a reason but man perverted their purpose and turned them into a sin. However, marijuana doesn't seem to have any purpose except to smoke it and relieve pain and anxiety (which is why I have a medical card). Obviously man turned this into a great evil too, but can it be used properly? I don't abuse it but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy getting high just like some people enjoy having a drink or two. What do you think? I don't feel particularly convicted about this either. Should I be?

Answer from Julia Stager & Randy Alcorn:

Referring to your “everything God made is good” comment, yes, everything God made was good, but the fall affected humans and nature. Therefore just because something exists “naturally” today does not mean that is how God originally created it or that it is inherently good (though it will be redeemed with the New Earth).

Under the curse, the world is full of naturally occurring poisons, some of them deadly. The argument that all was originally good is certainly biblical (Genesis 1:31) but nature fell under the curse. God made dogs happy and safe and good, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be killed by a diseased or vicious dog. Likewise, there are many things in nature we can become unhealthily addicted to. God approves of grapes, grape juice, even fermented wine, which Jesus drank and made. But it does not approve of addiction to it, or excess of it, which is drunkenness.

Having said all that, I don’t know if there’s anything biblically wrong with you legally smoking marijuana. If the alternative is Percocet or Oxycodone to manage your pain I’m not sure legal pot is much worse.

Granted, there are associated health concerns that go hand-in-hand with smoking (i.e. increased risk of lung cancer), and we know that we are responsible to care for and respect our bodies. But I think it’s a personal decision as to where to draw the line, like so many other things. I would encourage you to remember the fear of the Lord, since we will all give an account. Where to draw the line is a responsibility the Lord has given you. Do you find fulfillment in getting high? Are you possibly addicted to it? Does it occupy your heart more than the Lord? Those are all grave warning signs, but otherwise I’m afraid I can’t make the call.

Another danger that you must address or remember is that you may negatively impact others. It is a sin to lead others into sin, and perhaps what is okay for you will cause somebody else to stumble. 

Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.