What Is The Bible's Take On Marijuana?

Texas State Rep. David Simpson (R), a staunch Tea Party member and conservative Christian, made headlines earlier this month when he put forth "the evangelical argument for total legalization of cannabis."

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Simpson quoted Timothy 4:4, which reads “everything God created is good." Under Simpson's reading of the text, all God's creations, marijuana included, are good.

While some use religion as the basis for their opposition to the drug, early Judaism and Christianity scholar Stewart Felker told HuffPost Live on Tuesday that there are merits to Simpson's Christian case for marijuana legalization.

"Christianity itself was not born out of a hyper-puritanical mindset," Felker told host Josh Zepps.

Although the Bible contains "negative statements about alcohol in excess," it tolerates alcohol in moderation, Felker continued. Since drug use is not explicitly referenced in the Bible, Felker said its take on alcohol "lays the groundwork" for an interpretation of its stance on drug usage.

"There is no prohibition against alcohol in the Bible, and it is spoken of very positively in the New Testament, for example," he said. "So, by analogy, at the very least this lays the groundwork for an ethical theory that may have legal consequences if you're the type of person to do that."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about religion and drugs here.

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Lynn Johnson / National Geographic
Marijuana’s advocates believe the long-maligned plant can enhance life—and help deliver people from sickness and pain. A Seattle cannabis worker cradles the resin-dusted bud of a strain called Blueberry Cheesecake.
Lynn Johnson / National Geographic
Lily Rowland receives a dose of an oil derived mainly from cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive substance in marijuana. She used to suffer hundreds of seizures with violent convulsions every day. Her family moved to Colorado, which voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, so that she could begin a daily regimen.
Lynn Johnson / National Geographic
Phillip Hague, the chief horticulturist at a Denver cannabis company called Mindful, sniffs the roots of a plant to check on their health. He’s grown cannabis most of his life and has traveled the world researching its many varieties. He’s interested in developing new strains with higher concentrations of marijuana’s lesser known compounds that appear to have medical uses. “Cannabis speaks to me,” he says.
Lynn Johnson / National Geographic
At Denver’s LivWell, which has an enormous indoor growing operation, workers remove marijuana leaves before the buds are trimmed, keeping the plants destined for medical use separate from those for recreational use. After Colorado legalized marijuana, thousands of young people from all over the world flocked to the state to participate in the multimillion-dollar business phenomenon that’s been called the Green Rush.
Lynn Johnson / National Geographic
Kim Clark’s younger son, Caden, 11, suffers from severe epilepsy. Despite having brain surgery twice, he’d never had a seizure-free day until he started taking CBD oil.
National Geographic

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