The people have spoken. On June 26, Oklahoma voters approved State Question 788, presented to the voters “medical marijuana,” by a 57-43 margin.
Ignoring reasonable voices of caution, including U.S. Senator James Lankford and Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, as well as leaders from the business and medical community, Oklahoma voters took one giant leap toward marijuana with this ballot.
While this should sadden Christians, it should not completely surprise us. The way the measure was promoted, many people who approved it did not believe they were voting for a law that resembled recreational use of this drug. They seemed to be acting out of compassion for those who suffer with protracted illness, even while opponents of SQ 788 demonstrated that the measure more resembled recreational than medical.
Nevertheless, now that so-called “medical marijuana” is coming to Oklahoma, what should Christians do? There are at least four things.
///Wait & pray
It would be a mistake to overact to the passage of SQ 788. While efforts to push full recreational use are underway here in Oklahoma and elsewhere in the nation, we cannot panic. We need to pray for our leaders, whose job it becomes now to regulate and monitor this forthcoming law. We need to also pray that God would turn the hearts of people away from drunkenness and toward obeying the Holy Spirit.
The culture in America is increasingly in favor of marijuana use, and this state question gives marijuana a dangerous foothold in the Sooner State. Christians need to re-double our efforts on warning people—especially young people—about the spiritual and physical ramifications of these mind-altering, addictive drugs. We need to go back to the basics about why drunkenness is not only wrong and displeasing to God, but that it leads to a wasted life.
///Watch for what’s next
There are already efforts underway to take the next step toward the legalization of full-blown recreational marijuana. State Questions are being actively promoted by “Green the Vote,” which should be deeply concerning to voters of faith in Oklahoma. It would be incorrect to think SQ 788 was the end of the debate over marijuana. Indeed, it was only the beginning of a larger struggle.
Ultimately, the “marijuana moment in America,” to borrow a phrase from Albert Mohler, is a sign of the times. The surge of marijuana legalization suggests a moral laxness. It also shows people seem to want license over laws. The Hippie Movement of the 1960s is, in that sense, still in full bloom. That being said, no policy victories are permanent. If marijuana is truly dangerous and this law as poorly crafted as people warned, then the ugly side effects will begin to show up sooner or later. Until then, Christians must contend for our convictions in the marketplace of ideas, with confidence and standing on the Word of God.
As the marijuana moment marches on full speed for the time being, we know with confidence that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church will march on forever and ever.