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Willie Nelson’s Deteriorating Lungs and Marijuana Legalization

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I’d  bet your newspaper has published op-eds from marijuana proponents. I’d also wager that many of you have thought about responding but didn’t know exactly what to say.

Because this has been a major issue facing us in America, let me offer some assistance. Credible responses are needed lest more folks be deceived by seemingly scholarly articles that are increasingly common endorsing marijuana legalization.

Recently our state newspaper ran a prominent piece by a young woman calling for weed to be legalized. Coincidentally, she works for a statewide cannabis advocacy group. Reading her arguments and questionable statistics made me wonder if we should begin distributing marijuana freely since she opines it is so harmless and beneficial!

What follows is my pushback to the propaganda. Feel free to “borrow” any and all my counterpoints for op-eds you can submit, exposing the seductive logic.

Remember, “All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Let’s Get Serious

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, dxxxxd lies and statistics,” said Mark Twain. He was pointing out the use of statistics to bolster weak or fallacious arguments. The dope supporter whose article appeared in our newspaper, typical of many, deserved a five star Pinocchio award for her misleading stats and misguided presentation.

Before we review some helpful facts and arguments on this current deception in our culture, consider the following:

  • Recently, I had an in-depth conversation with a police officer on paid leave. He was rehabilitating from a serious injury sustained when he confronted a young man about to commit a crime who was stoned on marijuana. He subsequently assaulted the officer, tearing his rotator cuff. He now faces numerous felony offenses plus decades behind bars, in addition to the impounding of his car containing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
  • Sports Illustrated just featured a thought-provoking interview with Michael Phelps, the all-time Olympic gold-medalist who has emerged from rehab and a near -death experience. “Not wanting to be alive anymore” at one point, the champion who smoked marijuana, deceived it would not affect his ability to excel, now swears off any alcohol or drugs as he tries to regain his sanity and swimming prowess.
  • Close to where I live, a 33-year-old woman was just sentenced to 30 years in prison for her reckless driving which resulted in the death of a teenager helping change his mother’s flat tire. The THP report showed her high on drugs and impaired in her driving ability as she callously fled the scene of the homicide. She’ll now have many decades to ponder her stupidity, recreational drug usage and the devastation it brought her and a grieving family.

With scores of people killed, maimed or disabled for life from drunk driving, especially by young people, do we really want to compound the problem by adding marijuana to the mix? Teens can think they are invincible and adding a joint can seem innocuous until the tragedy happens, which it does with all too frequently.

Contrary to what drug proponents profess, marijuana and other drugs take a toll – eventually, if not immediately.  Drugs don’t deliver as advertised. Why do you think they call it “dope?”

Check out the sad disclosure that carefree, pot smoking, poster-boy Willie Nelson was discovered slipping away for controversial stem-cell therapy to rescue his damaged lungs. He’s had emphysema and pneumonia four or five times so in his own words, his “lungs were really screwed up.”

In Willie’s own words, “There’s been a lot of talk about marijuana being harmless, but I think it’s a lot more dangerous to the lungs than most dope smokers realize. Especially the strong marijuana that’s around these days. Each year it seems to get a little stronger…your lungs are not really supposed to breath anything but oxygen – pure, fresh air.”

How about the tragedy portrayed in the recent documentary on the life of Amy Winehouse, one of the world’s most gifted singers? Her premature and heartbreaking death stemmed from drugs. It all started years before when she and her boyfriend started smoking weed – those “harmless” joints.

Research Studies Should Not be Ignored

On the cross, Jesus deliberately refused the mind-altering drugging that was attempted by the soldiers. In His humanity, His body was a temple of the Holy Spirit and He honored this reality. So should we follow in His footsteps.

As Sergeant Joe Friday used to say on the TV program Dragnet,  “Just the facts!” so here they are…

The United States Drug Enforcement Agency released this statement about one month ago: “U.S. drug overdose kills more people than traffic accidents and gun incidents.” The total number cited was 46,471!

If we could ask these victims how many started on marijuana or maintained  their marijuana usage along with other drugs, I wonder how many would hang their heads in regret wishing they never succumbed to the seduction of the Pied Piper’s enticement onto this pernicious path?

My best friend growing up started experimenting with recreational drugs when he started college with me. What started as a fun escape spiraled into his premature death in his mid-20s. I carry an ache in my heart to this day from this experience.

When marijuana proponents glorify drugs and celebrate its “harmless” even “beneficial effect,” they should take heed to the words of an expert. Dr. Ed Gogek, an addiction psychiatrist. He wrote the following in the uber-liberal New York Times:

“I’ve spent 25 years as a doctor treating drug abusers and they are con artists… Marijuana activists are phony scientists. For years they said marijuana is good for glaucoma when it actually worsens it! They said it is not addictive and this is false! They said it doesn’t increase usage among teenagers and all evidence says the opposite… It is not harmless! Youth do worse in school and have two times the dropout rate while marijuana permanently lowers their IQ.”

Joseph Califano, head of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, declares without qualification that “pot smoking adversely affects motor skills and does serious damage to the brain over the long term.” It is a fact that objective studies repeatedly show that regular users find their IQ dropping and all cognitive functions hindered.

Finally, a recent study from Northwestern University established clearly that teen “potheads” had brain abnormalities related to poor short-term memory performance. Healthy individuals who did not use marijuana scored 37 times better on average than users – not just addicts – who had smoked  pot in the past.

The National Institute of Health makes it clear: “One in six youth who try marijuana before age 18 will either abuse it or will become addicted.” Those are dangerous odds, parents. Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

Will the Force Awaken?

Amidst the near–hysteria accompanying the release of the blockbuster film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will Americans awaken to forces surrounding us trying to lead us down these destructive paths? Will you play a part as a change agent to educate and lovingly warn them?

In the classic film Wizard of Oz, Dorothy finally pulled back the curtain and exposed the deceiving mastermind behind the façade. May we do likewise amid celebrities like Miley Cyrus and other pot promoters who glamorize toking up,  some under the ruse of the “medical marijuana” argument (which can have some medicinal benefits but it’s  not the only alternative).

A little while ago, in the mall where I daily exercise, a middle-aged mother darted from the coffee shop and stammered these words amidst her tears, “They just found my daughter dead!”  She proceeded to tell me about her 27-year-old daughter who met a young fellow who influenced her to start smoking dope. Prior to this encounter “she had never been involved with any drugs” but this was the gateway to her death and her mother’s devastation.

Here’s the deal: People will accuse us of being “fear mongers,” but we must not back down.  Let’s winsomely and confidently communicate the truth about this massive deception permeating America today.

We don’t want any more tragedies like Whitney Houston and her precious daughter and multitudes of others who dabbled in so-called “harmless, recreational drugs”, then digressed to other alternatives to maintain their “buzz.” As the Scripture says, “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…” (Rom. 1:22).

Let’s reach out to as many as we can to rescue them from this deception, before it’s too late.



 

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