Colorado may have legalized recreational marijuana use, but one prominent Christian conservative says it's only a matter of time before those laws are rolled back, even as he conceded that the substance may have some legitimate medical benefits.
Jim Daly, president of Focus On The Family, a Colorado-based evangelical group that traditionally takes a conservative approach to social issues, made his remarks to KRDO in Colorado Springs on Thursday. During the conversation, Daly said that he believes "there are some medical benefits derived" from marijuana, but that he doesn't approve of recreational marijuana use and that its legalization -- recently effected in Colorado and Washington state -- won't last.
"I think five to 10 years from now, we're going to look back on this and say, 'Maybe that wasn't such a wise idea' and we're going to rescind those laws," Daly told the station.
Daly also recently wrote a blog titled "Moral and Biblical Thoughts About Marijuana" in which he offers a more lengthy opinion on the morality of legal weed.
"Of all the problems associated with marijuana, however, the moral concerns might be the strongest," Daly writes. "The Bible is very clear in warning against drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). Granted, a person might drink a glass of wine at dinner and not become intoxicated, but what about marijuana? Isn't 'intoxication' the main point of using marijuana for recreational purposes?"
But Mason Tvert, communications director of Marijuana Policy Project and key backer of the Colorado amendment that legalized marijuana, disagrees, telling The Huffington Post that Daly's view of marijuana is similar to the old prohibitionists' claims about "demon weed."
"But the devil is in the details," Tvert said. "Marijuana is actually less harmful than alcohol. Mr. Daly appears to believe it is not only immoral for an adult to use marijuana, but also to consume any amount of alcohol beyond a glass of wine at dinner. In both cases, he is clearly out of touch with the views of most Americans. Our society recognizes that it is okay for adults to consume alcohol as long as they do so responsibly. There is no logical reason they should be punished for the responsible use of a less harmful substance like marijuana."
Tvert added, "If we're truly going to focus on the families, we need to stop steering adults toward using the more harmful substance."
Colorado Springs is home to Focus On The Family, but it is also home to the Realm of Caring, a nonprofit group founded by six Colorado brothers to distribute a specialized medical marijuana strain, dubbed "Charlotte's Web," for children with epilepsy.
The Stanleys started Realm of Caring to help families in need, and say they resent the stigma often associated with the plant.
"This particular plant has 0.5 percent THC and 17 percent CBD -- or cannabidiol -- the non-psychoactive ingredient [in marijuana]," Josh Stanley said about Charlotte's Web. "This plant is so important: the CBD is literally stopping the progression of epilepsy."
Colorado voters legalized marijuana for recreational use in 2012, but it wasn't until Jan. 1, 2014, that retail sales began in the state. Washington state's first recreational marijuana shops are expected to open later this year.