Furthermore, God's Word - the standard to which all governing measures (whether self-governing, family-governing, church-governing, or state-governing) should be subject - never gives the State the right or authority to dictate what one can and cannot ingest in their bodies (provided it's not breaking some other lawful matter, like the taking away of an innocent life - for instance, the State does have a right to prohibit any type of ingestion that would induce an abortion, and execute those who would use such ingestions - Ex. 21:12, 22-25).
Therefore, yes, I think marijuana should be legal for individuals to grow and use.
God's Word is clear that in the realm of self-government, if individuals desire to use a substance, they ought to use it responsibly (Ps. 104:15; Prv. 31:6-7; 1 Tim. 5:23) and not abuse it (Prv. 20:1, 23:20-21; Eph. 5:18). But in regard to state-government, the Scripture gives no authority over its use.
As an analogy, the Scripture condemns gluttony in the realm of self-government (Pr. 23:20-21; Ti. 1:12-13), but gives no right to the State to restrict or to punish those who overeat. Likewise, the Scripture gives no right to the State to restrict or to punish those who ingest alcohol or marijuana into their bodies (at least not for the ingestion alone).
So why am I voting "No" on Issue 3?
For two main reasons:
Issue 3 does not legalize marijuana
While it appears at the surface that Issue 3 would legalize marijuana, it really does not do it in the way that would be appropriate to the Biblical standards of the State being out of the way completely.
When you read the text of Issue 3 you'll notice that it "legalizes" it with many restrictions, among them being:
There are many more restrictions... But with these alone it's hard for me to see how "legal" it actually is. If we go back to the gluttony analogy it would be as if we're going to make it "legal" for people to produce an excess amount of food. But only certain, specially elected (or "favored by the State") establishments are allowed to produce this excess food for commercial use. Only certain retailers with a State license would be allowed to sell the excess food. Only people of a certain age are allowed to purchase the excess food. And only those with a valid State license are allowed to produce their own excess food (and with a cap on that as well).
Issue 3 is not legalizing marijuana. It's regulating it to the effect that only a limited number of certain "State approved" establishments get the benefit of gaining economic prosperity from its commercial sales, and the State gets a nice 15% kickback and 5% kickback for "allowing" such economic prosperity.
This is not victory by any means for those who truly want marijuana to be legal for personal use.
But I get that people will take their freedoms back as they come, very little at a time...
However, there is another reason I am voting against this particular "legalization" of marijuana.
There are no appropriate penal sanctions in place
If marijuana were legal, and everyone who wished were allowed to grow, use, sell, share, etc., what would be the appropriate penalty for crimes committed "under the influence" of the drug? I think reform needs to be done here in the realm of other laws as well, so I'll just say this up front:
Drunk driving and "high" driving ought not to be criminal offenses. These are really pre-crime offenses over which the State has taken advantage.
Again, if we were to use Scripture as the standard by which to judge and shape our civil matters (just as it should be used to judge and shape our personal and ecclesiastical matters), we would not have a State that punishes people for victimless "crimes."
If someone is stupid enough to be buzzed, or drunk, or high and get into his car and drive down the road and yet he manages to make it to his destination without hurting anyone, why in the world should he be charged for a "crime" if in that same scenario, before he reaches that destination he is pulled over by the police? He hasn't really committed a crime at this point. He gets punished for the potential he had of committing a crime. This is a pre-crime offense for which he is being punished. And the Scripture never warrants such punishment.
Well, I imagine this sounds absolutely crazy at this point. I'm saying marijuana should be legal, and that people who drive under its influence shouldn't be charged with committing a crime? Yes, as long as they don't commit a crime.
But if they do commit a crime, what should be the appropriate penalty? There is no answer to that in Issue 3, but I know that whatever it is, it will not line up with what God has laid down as justice.
For example, if under the influence of alcohol or marijuana someone damages or destroys someone else's property, the culprit ought to pay full restitution for that property.
Likewise, if by his stupidity a man kills someone in his vehicle (or otherwise) while under the influence, then justice would dictate that he himself should be executed.
How do I get this? After all, does not Scripture differentiate between manslaughter (accidental killing) and premeditated murder? Indeed it does, and the former is not given the death penalty (Ex. 21:13) while the latter is (Ex. 21:12, 14). That's why I think people who accidentally kill someone in an auto accident (because for some unforeseen reason they lost control of the car, etc.), should not be charged with murder.
However, the Scripture also prescribes that in cases of known negligence (where the additional risk is already clearly known), then that person is liable for the actions that follow.
When an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten, but the owner of the ox shall not be liable. But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.
We know that driving under the influence of alcohol (and/or marijuana, etc.) is more likely to create a situation in which someone can be harmed or killed. Therefore, being warned beforehand, if someone still then gets into a car (or whatever he does under the influence), and kills a person, his life ought to be executed (unless the family of the victim chooses a fine instead - Ex. 21:30, 31).
But it's this very thing that is missing from Issue 3 and from our legal system in general that would make me more likely to vote to legalize marijuana.
Would this alone make me vote "No" on Issue 3? I really can't say at this time. I think the first reason alone is enough not to vote "Yes" on it. While I certainly like the idea of the State becoming less and less involved in areas that God has not given it jurisdiction, I do think wisdom calls for us to be careful in such implementation.
As we work toward the State becoming less and less involved in areas that God has not given it jurisdiction (things like the production, sale, ingestion of marijuana, etc.), I think we need to work equally hard in ensuring that State is taking more seriously those areas that God has put in its jurisdiction (things like executing criminals worthy of death).
It's not just about "getting our freedoms back," it's about reforming our entire legal system to reflect the freedoms and justice of God. ... At least that's my take on it...
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