Marriage and Family  Oppose Marijuana Expansion  Policy Brief  Substance Abuse

The ERLC Opposes Marijuana Expansion

Southern Baptists affirm that all of government is ordained by God and should be aligned with God’s design for human flourishing. In the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Southern Baptists recognized that government is “ordained of God” and therefore, Christians have a duty to “render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God.” Additionally, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 affirms the end goal of the Christian life involves bringing “industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love.”

Southern Baptists have time and again affirmed that drug use of any kind results in a proliferation of crime and directly undermines the institution of the family. In the 1973 resolution “On Alcohol And Other Drugs,” Southern Baptists resolved to encourage Congress and other federal agencies to “control advertising of alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive drugs which perpetuate the drug orientation of the culture.” Additionally, in 1989, Southern Baptists reiterated concern through the resolution “On Drugs And Violence,” which in part, urged pharmaceutical companies to “restrict, where possible, the sale of chemicals and materials used to produce illicit drugs” and urged government at every level to address drug-related problems.

The Biden administration has directed the Department of Justice to neglect enforcing current federal law and directed the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reclassify marijuana to broaden access, without legislation passed by Congress to revise existing federal laws and legalize marijuana. Overarchingly, it is concerning that a president can direct a federal agency to neglect criminal law for any political reason, especially one that proliferates addiction. The ERLC responded directly to the DEA-proposed reclassification through addressing a letter detailing our concerns with the addictive properties of marijuana use, recent public health statistics, and beliefs supported by Southern Baptists on what constitutes good governance.

Many states are implementing laws to legalize marijuana on a state level, despite clear contradictions with federal law. Such practices are confusing to citizens, who often may seek to be law-abiding residents of their state, and undermine statistical evidence of the highly addictive nature of marijuana and other drugs.

The ERLC opposes any measures to expand access to marijuana, including opposing the SAFER Banking Act. The SAFER Banking Act seeks to protect banking institutions who provide financial services to cannabis-related businesses, allowing U.S. banks to work with marijana businesses without the threat of fines or penalties and encouraging the proliferation of marijuana businesses throughout the nation.

The ERLC remains outspoken on the harms of addiction and crime. We continue to push back on efforts by the administration to broaden access to marijuana and urge lawmakers to prevent widespread use of marijuana in their communities.

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