Christian Leaders Strike Down Marijuana In Oklahoma
Tom Dees, March 13, 2023
Oklahoma voters soundly defeated a measure to legalize marijuana in the state last week, a result officials said came from the efforts of a faith community highly motivated to reject the growing acceptance of the drug in society.
Voters overwhelmingly defeated a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana by a margin of 61.7% to 38.3%, with the measure failing in each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
“The faith community, I believe, and of course, I’ve got an iron in the fire on this, but I believe the faith community was a major player in what happened here,” insisted Paul Abner, president of Oklahoma Faith Leaders.
Abner, whose group represents six Christian denominations including Baptists, Catholics, and Nazarenes, said that the widest margin he had seen from pollsters before the vote was 3% and that “you can’t quantify” the impact the faith community has in the state.
“They came out and let their voice be heard,” Abner said.
Republican Sen. James Lankford also suggested that the “decisive” victory came after Oklahoma families, many of them families of faith, asked themselves whether more marijuana will make their lives better.
“Are we better as a state if we have more families smoking marijuana? And they made the decision no,” Lankford said, adding that Oklahoma already has a “tremendous” amount of medical marijuana facilities.
Oklahoma has more medical marijuana stores than Colorado, Washington and Oregon combined and more licensed cannabis farms than California, the New York Times reported.
“A lot of people in our faith community are like no, this is not helping our families, it’s making it worse,” Lankford declared.
“These days, we sadly see many people turning to drugs, we see families affected by substance abuse,” declared Brian Hobbs, communications director for Oklahoma Baptists which represents more than 1,700 churches in Oklahoma.
He continued, “Instead of creating easy access to drugs, we want to show people that there is an abundant, joyful life awaiting them in Jesus Christ, if they will turn to him.”
Governor Kevin Stitt also weighed in, announcing new efforts to crack down on existing medical marijuana dispensaries.
“Oklahomans have a big heart that if it’s going to help someone medically, we want that to happen.” He continued, “but we don’t believe everyone with a hangnail should be able to get a medical card.”
Marijuana is demonstrated to reduce IQ by as much as 8 points with long term use. It also present a myriad of other potential health concerns, including many still being studied.