A Banner Year for the Legalization of Pot
A Gallup poll last October showed 58 percent of Americans support legalizing cannabis. New York just became the 22nd state to allow marijuana for medicinal purposes. Meanwhile, more than a dozen states have decriminalized possession. Washington state and Colorado have embraced full legalization.
With even more states considering full legalization, 2014 could end up as a banner year for pot. In Alaska — where possession of less than four ounces and personal cultivation has been already been decriminalized — residents will likely have the chance to vote on an initiative that would regulate and tax marijuana and allow for the opening of recreational cannabis shops. A poll from last year showed 60 percent of the state’s residents support full legalization. In Oregon, voters are also expected to consider legalizing the substance, just two years after a similar initiative failed in a statewide vote. As with the 49th state, a poll taken last year in Oregon showed strong support for legalization.
Campaigners though have their sights set upon already pot-friendly California, with its population of nearly 40 million. If California legalized marijuana, then roughly one in five Americans would live in a recreational-use state.
Here are some of the findings overlooked by Obama and the Colorado legislature. A 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that people using marijuana were at a significantly higher risk for a diagnosis of schizophrenia later in life. In the 2013 Schizophrenia Bulletin, a study found that long-term teenage use of cannabis caused structural changes in the brain similar to those with schizophrenia, and the participants studied suffered irreversible short-term memory loss. The EPA 2013: 21st European Congress of Psychiatry links marijuana use with schizophrenia and other severe psychiatric problems.
My wife, who is a medical doctor, used to work in a hospital psychiatric ward and found that the vast majority of patients had experimented with marijuana in their teens. Just a coincidence?
The Religious Right is Finished: So What’s Next for Social Conservatives
Damon Linker, no friend of evangelical Christianity, calls us to dance on the grave of the religious right. He says that “the movement that re-elected George W. Bush and reached its peak of influence with the federal intervention in the sensational right-to-die case of Terri Schiavo — is finished.”
Causes? He lists
- The right’s widespread disappointment with the legacy of the Bush years across a range of areas, including fiscal, foreign, and social policy;
- The shift of the national GOP toward economic libertarianism in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008
- The election of Barack Obama
- The rise of the Tea Party
- The passage of health care reform
- A dramatic and rapid shift in the culture, especially among the young, away from politicized religion and toward the acceptance of gay marriage.
Linker says we are now reduced to simply playing defense.
No longer portraying themselves as the nation’s “Moral Majority,” they’re now focused on the much more modest task of protecting themselves from state-mandated secularism. Where they once tried to ban gay marriage in the Constitution, now they fight to ensure that the government will allow conservatives to pass on their anti-homosexual beliefs in their own homes, churches, and schools.
He sees four possible options for the “remnant” as the movement gradually dies and disappears:
- A stepping back from national ambitions across a range of issues to a narrower emphasis on state-level initiatives that restrict access to abortion.
- The younger generation forms a new national political movement around a broader cluster of concerns like economic stewardship and environmental sustainability.
- Withdraw from politics altogether,
- Disenchanted by both the American political system and the increasingly secular drift of American culture, they could turn outward focusing on Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Call it the globalization of the culture war.
Don’t you just love it when the world predicts the death of Christianity. It’s such a ripe opportunity for God to work and get all the glory. Why not take this article and spread it before God, Hezekiah-like and pray:
“Open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Damon Linker, which he has sent to reproach the living God. Truly, Lord, the kings of Media have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone” (paraphrase of 2 Kings 19:15-19).