What is the Churches postition on marijuana?
TraditionalRomanCatholic Wrote:[What is the Church's position on marijuana?] Is it viewed like alcohol is where it is OK as long as it is done in moderation? [...] Is it viewed as a venial sin, or is it sever[e] like a mortal sin? I ask because my brother smokes marijuana to relax after a hard day of work. He has anger management issues and gets made fun of a lot while at work. He says that coming home and smoking helps him relax and calm down so he doesn't flip out.

Marijuana as such, like tobacco as such, is not something the Church has any authoritative teaching about, so far as I've ever seen. If marijuana were legal, it would have to be rationally evaluated like any other legal drug: are the supposed benefits great enough to outweigh the possible bad effects of smoke inhalation, psychological dependence, hormonal change, gradually turning your brain to mush, etc.? I would strongly suggest that the answer is "no," but other people (at least imaginably) might disagree on rational grounds. Depending on the circumstances and the degree of avoidable abuse, <i>legal</i> marijuana smoking might be a mortal sin, a venial sin, or (imaginably) no sin at all; the same goes, I suppose, for tobacco smoking, which is bad for the body but apparently not for the mind.

The prior question, where marijuana is <i>not</i> legal, is whether the laws against it should be obeyed. Objectively, I do not think there is any reason weighty enough to establish that they shouldn't. Whether it is a mortal or a venial sin to disobey these laws doesn't appear to be established by any universal rule, but (to say the least) there would be no basis for confidence that it isn't a sin at all.

Marijuana users, like alcoholics, tend to engage in "stinkin' thinkin'" about whether they need to kick the habit and (in the case of marijuana users) obey the law. At the very least, it's highly desirable not to risk needless involvement with the criminal justice system for the sake of illegal self-medication. There are other ways--lawful, and better, ways--to calm down and avoid "flipping out." People whose thinkin' isn't <i>totally </i>stinkin' can recognize this and, with help from God and maybe from man, they can act accordingly.

Pray for your brother to recognize this, and to accept the help he needs. (By the way ... dare I ask whether part of the reason why people make fun of your brother at work is that they can tell he's a hemp-head?)


Don McMaster

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What is the Churches postition on marijuana? - by McMaster - 11-25-2007, 07:08 AM

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