I remember a few months after I gave my life to Christ, I performed my first featured poem at an event called Cadence of Hair. I recited a poem entitled “Don’t Call Me A Rasta”. I spoke about my frustration with people who thought that just because I was Jamaican, wore dreads and was vegetarian at the time, that I was affiliated with the Rastafarian movement. Well, it was kind of my fault since prior to my conversion I was a novice participant of the group; solely because I loved smoking weed and I was a deep thinker and somewhat of a spiritual guru. So I was tired of it! And I was tired of people asking me if I still smoked weed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of marijuana. My dreads were almost down to my shoulders, I sometimes wore a red, green and gold knitted rasta belt, I had a pin designed jean jacket with the popular pin of the African continent on it, and a Gucci pouch tied to my pants waist filled with a lighter, rolling papers, grabba, and a bag of weed. This was who I was for 7 years straight, I like to call it my 7 year itch. Smoking weed was a huge part of my life and I didn’t go a day without lighting up a couple of spliffs with friends. My fingers knew no other scent that reggie bush, piff, or kush. My cologne was weed smoke and the smell followed me on my walks home at night. Getting high either enhanced or diminished my intimacy but I didn’t have enough resistance to carefully measure its effects to sex. I just needed it all the time! But after days and weeks and months and years of making the bush burn, smoking too much bush burned me.
So do all Jamaicans smoke weed? No, some of them, like myself wouldn’t dare going back to depending on a substance for daily maintenance. Don’t get me wrong, marijuana itself has many great health benefits that shouldn’t be ignored, but I’m concerned with those like myself who aren’t physically ill; yet use marijuana as a replacement item to filter out their own thoughts, casting a shadow over their reality, and drowning out their fears temporarily with THC pumping through their veins. I’m very concerned with people like that, not because I’m better than them, but because I was once just like them. And I know first hand that weed, while it is mostly categorized as a depressant or a stimulant, can also be a hallucinogen.
As believers, we’re fortunate to be able to connect with God through different circumstances, through wise counsel, through the words of the Bible, through dreams, our thoughts and through nature. But do we really need a substance to make us get closer to God? Some people do, and they end up making weed an idol. Some people who claim to be Christians fulfill Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics “smoking my kush reading Corinthians” (I know I did). But as a believer in God’s sovereignty, I do believe that God can definitely be heard through the cracks of the darkest corners, and even through drunken lips, even when the marijuana smoke clears I think we can hear him if he wills it. However, when God speaks, he wants to take us out of our lowly state and to bring us to a point of pure peace, where we wont need anything to stimulate us but his Spirit and Word. When we keep revisiting our fear with substance that change our character, we demonstrate our weakness and our absence from God and even our idolatry.
Overall, I think recreational marijuana usage from my experience and from most people I know is a coping mechanism to disengage from the world and to disengage from our problems and from people. I think Christians should exercise wisdom and discernment when considering smoking marijuana, or even drinking alcohol to some extent. It’s not for everything, and it shouldn’t be abused or depended on.
I cant help but think of these scriptures to help emphasize the need for self control purity…
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12
“The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” – 1 Peter 4:7