Recreational Marijuana Use

By Joe R. Price

Washington and Colorado have legalized the possession and use of marijuana. Is pot smoking harmless? Is it approved by God? Christians need the clear teaching of God’s word on the recreational use of marijuana.

Marijuana is still a banned substance under federal law. Unfortunately, the U.S. Justice Dept. has taken a hands-off approach to enforcement. More states are working to legalize it. Remember, just because man legalizes an action does not mean God approves it (cf. Acts 5:29).

Marijuana harms those who use it. It is not harmless fun. “Marijuana smoke is actually more irritating to the mouth, throat, air passages, and lungs than tobacco smoke. What’s more, it contains 50 to 70 percent more cancer-provoking hydrocarbons. And pot-smokers tend to inhale deeply and hold their breath while smoking. As a result, long term marijuana users, like their tobacco-puffing counterparts, are at higher risk than the general population not only for chronic lung disease but also for cancer of the upper respiratory tract and lungs.” ( “Long term marijuana users are also known for developing a marked lack of motivation… Other research has linked marijuana use with poor overall job performance. This includes increased tardiness, absenteeism, accidents, and workers’ compensation claims” (Ibid). A Christian smoking pot is not pursuing “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim. 6:11). Smoking a “gateway drug” is not a godly example (1 Tim. 4:12).

The purpose of recreational marijuana use is to become intoxicated. People smoke pot to “get high”. This can be likened to drinking to get “buzzed”. “Marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the Washington Uniform Controlled Substances Act” ( People smoke pot for its “mood-altering, mind-altering” effects. The gospel says not to be drunk, high or buzzed, but to be sober-minded (Eph. 5:18; 1 Pet. 4:3; Tit. 2:6). Intoxication of the mind is the main point of recreational marijuana use. Social pot-smoking, like social drinking, is against the will of God.