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Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief

G.A. res. 36/55, 36 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 51) at 171, U.N. Doc. A/36/684 (1981).


The General Assembly,

Considering that one of the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations is that of the dignity and equality inherent in all human beings, and that all Member States have pledged themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization to promote and encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

Considering that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights proclaim the principles of nondiscrimination and equality before the law and the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief,

Considering that the disregard and infringement of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or whatever belief, have brought, directly or indirectly, wars and great suffering to mankind, especially where they serve as a means of foreign interference in the internal affairs of other States and amount to kindling hatred between peoples and nations,

Considering that religion or belief, for anyone who professes either, is one of the fundamental elements in his conception of life and that freedom of religion or belief should be fully respected and guaranteed,

Considering that it is essential to promote understanding, tolerance and respect in matters relating to freedom of religion and belief and to ensure that the use of religion or belief for ends inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, other relevant instruments of the United Nations and the purposes and principles of the present Declaration is inadmissible,

Convinced that freedom of religion and belief should also contribute to the attainment of the goals of world peace, social justice and friendship among peoples and to the elimination of ideologies or practices of colonialism and racial discrimination,

Noting with satisfaction the adoption of several, and the coming into force of some, conventions, under the aegis of the United Nations and of the specialized agencies, for the elimination of various forms of discrimination,

Concerned by manifestations of intolerance and by the existence of discrimination in matters of religion or belief still in evidence in some areas of the world,

Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for the speedy elimination of such intolerance in all its forms and manifestations and to prevent and combat discrimination on the ground of religion or belief,

Proclaims this Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief:

Article 1

1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.

2. No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have a religion or belief of his choice.

3. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.

Article 2

1. No one shall be subject to discrimination by any State, institution, group of persons, or person on the grounds of religion or other belief.

2. For the purposes of the present Declaration, the expression "intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief" means any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on religion or belief and having as its purpose or as its effect nullification or impairment of the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal basis.

Article 3

Discrimination between human beings on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.

Article 4

1. All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.

2. All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.

Article 5

1. The parents or, as the case may be, the legal guardians of the child have the right to organize the life within the family in accordance with their religion or belief and bearing in mind the moral education in which they believe the child should be brought up.

2. Every child shall enjoy the right to have access to education in the matter of religion or belief in accordance with the wishes of his parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, and shall not be compelled to receive teaching on religion or belief against the wishes of his parents or legal guardians, the best interests of the child being the guiding principle.

3. The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the ground of religion or belief. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, respect for freedom of religion or belief of others, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.

4. In the case of a child who is not under the care either of his parents or of legal guardians, due account shall be taken of their expressed wishes or of any other proof of their wishes in the matter of religion or belief, the best interests of the child being the guiding principle.

5. Practices of a religion or belief in which a child is brought up must not be injurious to his physical or mental health or to his full development, taking into account article 1, paragraph 3, of the present Declaration.

Article 6

In accordance with article I of the present Declaration, and subject to the provisions of article 1, paragraph 3, the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief shall include, inter alia, the following freedoms:

(a) To worship or assemble in connection with a religion or belief, and to establish and maintain places for these purposes;

(b) To establish and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions;

(c) To make, acquire and use to an adequate extent the necessary articles and materials related to the rites or customs of a religion or belief;

(d) To write, issue and disseminate relevant publications in these areas;

(e) To teach a religion or belief in places suitable for these purposes;

(f) To solicit and receive voluntary financial and other contributions from individuals and institutions;

(g) To train, appoint, elect or designate by succession appropriate leaders called for by the requirements and standards of any religion or belief;

(h) To observe days of rest and to celebrate holidays and ceremonies in accordance with the precepts of one’s religion or belief;

(i) To establish and maintain communications with individuals and communities in matters of religion and belief at the national and international levels.

Article 7

The rights and freedoms set forth in the present Declaration shall be accorded in national legislation in such a manner that everyone shall be able to avail himself of such rights and freedoms in practice.

Article 8

Nothing in the present Declaration shall be construed as restricting or derogating from any right defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Human Rights.


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a students essay

Student’s Essay: ‘Legalize Marijuana’

Here is the essay that a student presented at Peninsula High School in Purdy on Tuesday morning. While presenting it, the student took out a marijuana joint, lit it, and began smoking it, police said. See complete story

Ian Barry
Persuasive essay
Napier 1st
25-May-2009

Legalize Marijuana

Can I see a show of hands how many people here have ever smoked Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana? I see none of you raised your hand. Well obviously no one would want to admit to a criminal activity in front of their teacher. But why is it that smoking pot is so taboo in our society? After all numerous famous intellectuals support marijuana. Al Gore is considered by many to be the leading figure in climate change awareness and environmental preservation. But few people know that Al Gore also supports the legalization of marijuana. The famed German philosopher Freidrich Nietzche once said, “If one seeks relief from unbearable pressure one is to eat hashish”. The founding father of our nation George Washington, said, “Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” Marijuana is one of the safest medicinal substances on the planet and is supported by many acclaimed celebrity role models. Famous Hollywood actor Johnny Depp says, “I’m not a big pothead or anything like that… but weed is much, much less dangerous than alcohol”. Other well known supporters of marijuana include Snoop Dogg, all of the Marley family, Niel Young, Willie Nelson, Michael Phelps, Chris Farley, Al Gore, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Nietzche, Barack Obama, John Adams, James Madison, JFK, and of course myself. A total of 11 United States presidents either grew, smoked, or supported the legalization of Marijuana. With the support of some of the greatest thinkers and world leaders of all time it’s a wonder that marijuana is still illegal. “Government ties is really why the government lies” – Immortal Technique. Common Misconceptions about marijuana are set about by high end government officials who think only of themselves and own their prosperity. For instance few people know the history of weed and the means by which it was criminalized.

Most of you have probably seen “Reefer Madness”, the ridiculous propaganda film set about by the U.S. government to discourage the use of marijuana. The movie debuted in 1936 making arbitrary claims, calling Cannabis “The devils weed”, and stating that weed is more dangerous that cocaine or opium. This was the outlook of the government at the turn of the century, but in fact pot was smoked as early as 2700 BC, in China. In 500 AD marijuana spread to Europe and Africa where it was cultivated and smoked for its medicinal qualities. By 1545 marijuana had been introduced to the New World where it was grown as a cash crop alongside tobacco and cotton. Sold in bars throughout the Americas pot was seen as tobaccos little brother. It is reported that several of our founding fathers including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington smoked ganja out of water hookahs with Turkish emissaries shortly after the revolutionary war. After this experience both Franklin and Washington began to grow weed for themselves. At the turn of the 20th century marijuana began to gain popularity and by the 1920’s was the drug of choice for America’s youth. Historians say this popularity is what led to its prohibition. But history itself tells a different story. Whenever something be-it and idea, substance, or social behavior, becomes popular, American companies brand and market it for all it’s worth. Take for example punk rock which originally was a counterculture but through marketing was assimilated into mainstream society. So why is it that the same fate was not suffered by marijuana, why was it made illegal?

In 1937 the first official action was taken against weed, the Marihuana Tax Act. The act itself did not criminalize the possession of cannabis but levied a tax on anyone dealing the substance. This didn’t just mean the buds anything with hemp or hemp oil in it was essentially taxed out of business. A legitimate dealer was required to have a tax stamp but no stamps were ever printed. These over elaborate regulations prevented marijuana from being a profitable source of income. In reference to the International Opium Convention of 1928 Cannabis sativa was considered a drug and all state governments had some kind of laws against its consumption. Today it is generally accepted that these hearings included incorrect, excessive, and unfounded arguments. The Marijuana Tax Act was introduced to the U.S. congress by “Drug Czar” Harry Anslinger, a man who had no sense of morals and may have had NPD (narcissistic personality disorder), not to mention his pig faced features. Anslinger is where the conspiracy starts. 1937, the year the tax act was passed, was coincidentally the same year that the Decorticater Machine was invented, with this new technology the hemp industry would have been able to take over competing industries virtually overnight. “Popular Mechanics” predicted that hemp would be America’s first billion dollar crop. William Hearst, a corporate business owner, possessed enormous acreage of forest. His land and paper making company would have lost tremendous value and eventually gone bankrupt had the tax act not been passed. Hearst reportedly had strong influence in Congress and his interest in preventing hemp production is easily explained. DuPont, a chemical company that was involved in other industries, also had a hand in the conspiracy. At the time of the Marihuana Tax Act DuPont was patenting a new acid process for producing wood pulp based paper. With the boom of the hemp industry this invention would have been useless. DuPont was also in the railroad car industry. According to their own records wood pulp products accounted for 80% of all DuPont’s railroad car loadings for the 50 years prior to 1937. 80% of all their profits would have been lost with a hemp takeover. Two years earlier, in 1935, DuPont developed nylon, a substitute for hemp rope. Nylon was equal in strength and quality but with the Decorticater Machine would not have been cost effective when sold alongside hemp. Even with hemp eliminated nylon was not extremely profitable. The year after the tax was passed DuPont came out with rayon, a very cost effective fiber that would not have been able to compete with the strength and durability of hemp. Harry Anslinger, the man who proposed the Marihuana Tax Act, was also a CEO of DuPont, and would have stood to loose millions had marijuana not been driven out of business. Anslinger, who was married to Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon’s niece, was appointed to lead the FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics). It’s widely believed that his relationship with Mellon is what earned him the promotion. Harry Anslinger’s first action as commissioner was to pass the Marijuana Tax Act. Reasoning behind Anslinger, Hearst, and DuPont was for no moral or medical issues. They fought to criminalize marijuana to save their business and to save money. It’s simply another example of capitalist pigs taking advantage of their power and manipulating the law for personal gain. Marijuana continued to be present in society throughout the 40’s and 50’s. During this time it came to be associated with the rise of rock n’ roll. The hippi movement of the 1960’s and 70’s was largely involved in experimental drug use. Artists such as The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix experimented with drugs like acid and heroin. Their fans followed suit but Mary Jane remained America’s drug of choice. The increased support of the environmentalist movement also supported the use of weed. Hemp can be made into paper that is equivalent to paper made from trees, without destroying the rainforests. After all the first, third and final drafts of the Declaration of Independence were all written on hemp paper. At anti-Vietnam protests many people could be seen smoking pot. This fueled the idea that marijuana should be legal, and in the late 60’s the first serious calls for legalization were made.

In 1975 weed supporters around the United States celebrated a victory as Alaska decriminalized the use and possession of small amounts of Cannabis. Until, in 1990, residents voted to recriminalize the substance. During those 15 years Alaska prospered and its economy was the highest it had been in years. Calling it a “dangerous experiment” the DEA’s stated reason for the recriminalization was that “teenagers used marijuana at twice the national average”. I think it’s pretty obvious that when a substance is legalized it will be used more than when it was illegal. Had we kept the same policy throughout history alcohol should have been recriminalized shortly after the repealing of the 18th amendment due to an increase in alcohol consumption. Several other countries have attempted various forms of legalizing drugs, in the Netherlands marijuana is illegal but under certain restrictions its consumption is allowed. The coffee shops of Amsterdam are renowned worldwide as a pot-smokers Mecca. Coffee shops are allowed to sell under 5 grams of marijuana as long as it is smoked on the premises. One of the opposition’s most acclaimed arguments is that legalizing marijuana will lead to an increase in crime rates. The only way to prove this theory is through real life experience. The only domestic experience we have with legalized pot was in Alaska in the 70’s and 80’s. Government analysis showed that there was no change in the crime rate for these years. All other claims about the marijuana-crime correlation are mere speculation. The fact is that Amsterdam has a lower crime rate than any major U.S. city. One could argue that the Alaskan experiment actually benefited the crime rate. As a whole, the national crime rate went up from 1975 to 1990, while Alaska’s remained the same.

Other Cannabis antagonists look to Switzerland’s Needle Park experiment to justify marijuana’s legal status. People in Needle Park were allowed to openly purchase and use drugs without police intervention. The idea was to give addicts a “clean and safe” environment to inject heroin. To compare this with legalizing marijuana is absolutely absurd. First, in terms of classification marijuana and heroin are completely different. Heroin is a level five highly addictive drug that causes long term brain damage as well as damage to the central nervous system. A heroin addict will experience collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining, abscesses, and liver disease. Not to mention second hand use of needles often leads to full blown accounts of AIDS. Marijuana on the other hand has its own category and no proven health detriments. The results of Needle Park cannot be compared to those of legalizing marijuana. Your parents have probably told you that smoking pot causes lung cancer and brain damage. Unfortunately they were probably teenagers in the 70’s and smoked pot themselves so their very objection to weed is extremely hypocritical. The U.S. government provides facts and statistics that seem to demonstrate the pernicious nature of marijuana. Let’s take a look at the so called facts that the DEA claims are results of the habitual smoking of Cannabis sativa. First, and I quote, “Marijuana is an addictive drug”. That my friends is an outright lie. All clinical studies including those conducted by the government have concluded that marijuana contains no addictive properties. A person can become chemically dependent on the drug but that is radically different than an addiction. Another study regulated by the government studied 182 “random” fatal truck accidents. It just so happened that in these “random” accidents marijuana was present in as many of the drivers as alcohol. The National Transportation Safety Board then determined that marijuana is just as dangerous as alcohol while driving. The reasoning behind this argument has more than several flaws. First of all marijuana can stay in a persons system for more than 2 weeks, there is no way to tell that the drivers were high at the time of their accidents. Now I’m not an expert but I know that 182 is not a large enough number to be considered reliable research. To study 182 of 5 ¼ million accidents, .0034%, and make apocryphal claims based on that research shows ineptitude beyond that of any man disposed to devout his life to a hierarchy of pious infidels who understand nothing of the nature and complexity of life.

Other major concerns of consuming marijuana are lung and brain damage, as well as memory loss. According to the UCLA School of Medicine “marijuana does not impair long term memory”. Weed can cause short term memory loss but only while under the influence, the same can be said for alcohol and many over the counter sleeping medications. Brain damage that does occur is not because of any chemical property in ganja, but because the brain is deprived of oxygen for so long that brain cells are killed. For any self acclaimed pot smoker that’s an easy fix, just don’t hold your hits in for so long. One of the studies that is referred to the most was performed on monkeys in which they suffered severe brain damage. It was only until recently in careful review of the study that we discovered that the monkeys were breathing pure THC for over a minute, that lack of oxygen is what killed the brain cells, not the marijuana. The other substantial health concern is over lung function. Also according to the UCLA School of Medicine “neither the continuing nor intermittent marijuana smokers exhibited any significantly different rates of lung function as compared to those individuals who never smoked marijuana”. The study was conducted on 243 pot smokers over an 8 year period. Another of the governments’ critical expostulations against legalizing marijuana is that pharmaceutical companies have developed a synthetic THC pill called Marinol. But Marinol is substantially different than marijuana. First, it’s not real THC; there is not one part of the Cannabis sativa plant in Marinol. It’s a bunch of chemicals that some scientist mixes up in a lab. Second Marinol is only available through prescription, so it’s incontrovertibly not the same as legalizing marijuana. Not only is it very hard to obtain a prescription, the requirements exclude nearly everyone. You must either be a cancer patient who underwent chemotherapy or be an AIDS patient who has appetite loss. Both diseases have no cure and are generally fatal. So the government won’t let you take Marinol unless you have a virtual death sentence. If I have a malignant disease I’m not going to take the time to get a government prescription, I’m going to smoke the real thing. So please don’t feed me spurious claims that legal marijuana already exists.

Now that I have addressed the supposed health detriments let’s take a look at the medical benefits of Cannabis. As mentioned above marijuana has been infallibly proven to relieve the vomiting and nausea that come with chemotherapy. Many cancer patients have said that marijuana was the best treatment for their symptoms. I interviewed a cancer patient who has miraculously over come the disease, for privacy reasons I won’t reveal their name but when asked about the effects of marijuana the interviewee said, “I would not have lived if I didn’t smoke lots of marijuana”. Isn’t it interesting that cancer, one of the world’s deadliest, incurable diseases, is treated with marijuana, an illegal drug? Marijuana is also used for treating multiple sclerosis and several mood disorders. After smoking small amounts of marijuana patients are said to be relaxed and stress free. Unlike alcohol which is a depressant, Cannabis can be used to treat low level depression. Most depression is caused by stress; smoking pot relieves stress and thus relieves depression. Glaucoma is yet another disease that smoking weed will treat. Glaucoma is an optical disease that leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve endings and resultant visual fields, which can ultimately progress to blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world and doctors predict that this number will increase as longevity also increases. Symptoms of glaucoma include intraocular pressure, patches of vision loss, headaches, and pain behind the eyeball. Despite making the eyes red marijuana actually lowers intraocular pressure and can prevent as well as cure Glaucoma all together. As you can see marijuana has copious medical uses and little to no medical handicaps. For it to illegal while tobacco and alcohol are legal is absolute madness.

Like any substance marijuana can be abused, but it is impossible to overdose on. The most common problem associated with marijuana abuse is lethargic behavior, but does not cause serious health or social concerns. Overuse of alcohol will result in an inability to walk, stand, or even death, whereas overuse of weed will simply put a person to sleep. 40% of all fatal car accidents are caused by alcohol while no car accidents ever have been directly caused by marijuana. Alcohol induces violent behavior and is often attributed to wife beating and other violent behaviors. Someone under the influence of alcohol will experience fits if rage which has often led to their own demise or the death of others, while someone who got high from marijuana will stroll around pleasantly with a smile on their face in search of the nearest McDonald’s. It is as the iconoclast Bob Marley once said, “Herb is the healing of the nation, alcohol is the destruction”. Cigarettes are another legal substance that are far more dangerous than some good sensimilla. Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of lung cancer in America. Tobacco cigarettes are filled with harmful chemicals such as nicotine, rat poison, formaldehyde, ammonia, and arsenic. Both cigarettes and alcohol are immensely addictive phenomenon’s that lead to very serious health problems, predominantly cancer, and ultimately death. Marijuana is considered by many to be a dangerous substance but in reality many of our legal drugs are far more portentous.

Annual American Deaths Caused by Drugs Tobacco…………….. 400,000
Alcohol……………… 100,000
All legal drugs………. 20,000
All illegal drugs…….. 15,000
Caffeine…………….. 2,000
Aspirin……………… 500
Marijuana…………… 0

In all of recorded history going back as far as 2700 BC there has never been one single human death attributed to a health problem caused by marijuana.

Not only is marijuana a safe drug with medical benefits but it could rapidly stimulate our failing economy. At its current rate of production legal marijuana generates 35.8 billion dollars per year. Profits from marijuana exceed that of corn and wheat combined. And that’s just the legal margins. Revenue from illegal domestic marijuana is speculated at around 60 billion dollars a year. That’s a total of 95.8 billion dollars each year excluding imports. Marijuana is considered by profuse amounts of economists to already be our nation’s number one cash crop. It’s already the number 1 cash crop in 12 states including California, Alaska, and Hawaii. In Washington weed is second only to apples. In 30 other states ganja is among the top three on the list of cash crops. As Thomas Jefferson said, “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country”. George Washington himself predicted that hemp would be our most valuable product. Economists estimate that if marijuana were legalized annual tax returns would be 6.2 billion dollars. That’s over 6 billion dollars in the hands of the federal government rather than in the hands of so called drug criminals. This money could be spent on combating the flow of hard, more serpentine drugs onto our streets.

If the fact that legalizing marijuana will engender enormous sums of money isn’t enough for some skeptics let’s take a look at the money that it will save. Approximately 7.7 billion dollars is spent annually on law enforcement to traverse marijuana consumption. Legalizing marijuana would eliminate 100% of these costs. Another taxpayer expense that would be emphatically reduced is prison disbursements. New FBI statistics show that one marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds, by the end of my speech more than 20 people will have been incarcerated on marijuana related offenses. Since 1990 5.9 million innocent Americans have been arrested on Cannabis charges, a number greater than the population of Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. 88% of all people in jail, a staggering 2 million, are there due to marijuana offenses. In the case that marijuana is legalized that number will be reduced to 440,000 people, a prodigious decline. The deprivation of operating prisons would also deteriorate dramatically. The cost of operating prisons comes directly out of taxpayers pockets. Currently a 40 billion dollar per year expenditure would be cut back to 8.8 billion dollars, still a gargantuan amount but much, much less than what it was. With this amount of savings and profits I find it amazing that our capitalist society hasn’t already demanded the legalization of pot.

Simply selling the buds is not the only way to make money off the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp fibers from the stalks have countless other uses. An entire hemp based industry will be created. Oil extracted from the seeds was used to lubricate gears and mechanisms in many of the original cars including Henry Ford’s Model T. Hemp fiber, renown for its strength, has long been used to test the durability of other fibers. When George Bush Sr. was forced to eject from his F-50 over Vietnam, the parachute that saved his life was made from 100% hemp fiber. Hemp can be made into rope, clothing, and paper. More important than the products made will be the jobs procreated by this industry. The current unemployment rate is 8.9% as of April 2009. 8.9% sounds like a small number out of 100 but 8.9% translates to over 13.7 million people without a job. I talked about tax deficits earlier but how about the decrease in taxes if all 13.7million people got off welfare and started working in the pot industry. Though legalizing marijuana won’t create all 13.7 million jobs necessary it will create some. That’s a step in the right direction to resurrect our falling economy.

A common misconception is that smoking sensimilla makes a person this lazy, unexcited, useless, crippling abrasion to society. That’s not true at all. Like most Americans, people who smoke pot pay taxes, love and support their families, and work hard to make a better life for their children. Suddenly they are arrested, jailed, and treated like criminals solely because they choose to relax in a way that is safer than tobacco or alcohol. State agencies frequently step in and declare children of marijuana smokers to be “in danger”, and many children are placed into foster homes as a result. This causes enormous pain, suffering, and financial hardship for millions of honest American families. It also engenders distrust and disrespect for the law and criminal justice system overall. If the children of marijuana smokers are in danger than the children of cigarette smokers and alcoholics are in a situation far more perilous. Responsible pot smokers present no threat or danger to America and there is no reason to treat them as criminals.

Many people also believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and will lead to other more dangerous drugs. It’s true that most people who do hard drugs didn’t immediately start out snorting cocaine or shooting heroin, but smoking pot every now and then doesn’t condemn you to be some cracked out heroin feign. As it stands right now only a small portion of sensi smokers go on to harder drugs and I’m sure that number will go down if marijuana is legalized. If kids could run down to the gas station and pick up some weed their interest in other drugs would be diminished. The only way that pot could be considered a gateway drug is if it is sold alongside hard drugs. True some pot dealers sell harder stuff but legalizing marijuana completely negates that arguement. If marijuana were legal there would be no need for side street dealers who might have hard drugs on them, it could be sold in any convenience store across the country. I know for a fact that teenagers would much rather get high legally than break the law to do so. The problem is legal highs aren’t readily available, the closest you can get is with cigarettes which not only taste disgusting but are extremely deleterious to your health and the health of others. Implying that smoking weed always leads to harder drugs is like saying that anyone who has ever stolen something will go on to armed piracy of oil tankers. The Somalians that hijacked those tankers probably did steal in their youth but that doesn’t mean everyone who steals will end up like them. Marijuana as a gateway drug is a false implication and cannot be used in a serious discussion about legalizing marijuana. Many people also insinuate that marijuana leads people to a life of crime. The only way to test this theory is to study the results when pot is legal. Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal, has a lower crime rate than any major U.S. city. I think that soundly disproves that theory and clearly shows that smoking marijuana is not a gateway to anything illegal.

I have provided you with information, facts and statistical evidence that all point towards the legalization of marijuana. But the truth is it doesn’t matter what I say until you, the people, stand up and besiege the government to re-address the litigation of marijuana. But I’m sure there are many of you thinking, “Well that’s a great speech in all but I don’t smoke pot so why should I care if it’s legal or not?” So I have come up with several reasons why everyone should support the legalizing of marijuana. If you’re politically left wing stick it to the corporal business owners who made it illegal in the first place. If your right wing, marijuana is our number 1 cash crop, legalized we can make even more money than we are now. If your Christian or adhere to the Bible, Genesis 1:29 “And God said, behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth”, according to the Bible it’s your god given right to grow and consume any plant on this earth, including marijuana. If you’re an environmentalist or at least care about the fate of our planet, you can save the 4 billion trees that are cut down every year to make paper. I assure you hemp paper is a fine substitute. Everyone should support legalizing marijuana and everyone here now understands why. The biggest problem is that people are more inclined to suffer the sufferable that to rectify changes in their lives. But with growing support the Cannabis sativa predicament will soon be rectified and the world as a whole will be a better place, in the words of Bob Marley, “Legalize it, don’t criticize it”.

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Cannabis and the Christ

Cannabis and the Christ: Jesus used Marijuana

Part 4 of "When Smoke Gets in my I" a series on the history of cannabis and human consciousness.

"If you know the truth, the truth will make you free." (John 8:32)

Jesus used Marijuana

As doubtful as the following hypothesis might first seem to the reader, I might as well boldly state my case right from the start: either Jesus used marijuana or he was not the Christ. The very word "Christ", by the implication of its linguistic origins and true meaning, gives us the most profound evidence that Jesus did in fact use the same herb as his ancient semitic ancestors, and which is still used by people around the world for its enlightening and healing properties.

The Greek title "Christ" is the translation of the Hebrew word Messiah, which in English becomes "The Anointed" D. The Messiah was recognized as such by his being anointed with the holy anointing oil, the use of which was restricted to the instillation of Hebrew priests and kings (See CC#5). If Jesus was not initiated in this fashion then he was not the Christ, and had no official claim to the title.

D The title "Messiah" is much older than Christianity, as all the ancient kings of Israel are referred to as the "Messiah". "Christos – Anointed One, a title of many Middle-Eastern sacrificial gods: Attis, Adonis, Tammuz, Osiris. . ." 12

The ancient recipe for this anointing oil, recorded in the Old Testament book of Exodus (30: 22-23) included over nine pounds of flowering cannabis tops, Hebrew "kaneh-bosm" B, extracted into a hind (about 6.5 litres) of olive oil, along with a variety of other herbs and spices. The ancient chosen ones were literally drenched in this potent cannabis holy oil.

B The "m" is a pronounced plural, and the singular kaneh-bos sounds remarkably similar to the modern cannabis. Although often mistranslated as "calamus", the word has been translated as "fragrant-cane" in most modern bibles, and specifically designates the fragrant flowering tops of cannabis.

From the time of Moses until that of the later prophet Samuel, the holy anointing oil was used by the shamanic Levite priesthood to receive the "revelations of the Lord". At the dawn of the age of Kings, Samuel extended the use of the anointing oil to the Hebraic monarchs by anointing Saul (and later David) as "Messiah-king". These kings lead their people with the benefit of insights achieved through using the holy anointing oil to become "possessed with the spirit of the Lord."

"Anointing was common among kings of Israel. It was the sign and symbol of royalty. The word ‘Messiah’ signifies the ‘Anointed One’, and none of the kings of Israel were styled the Messiah unless anointed."1 The title was clearly only given to those "having the crown of God’s unction upon them" (Leviticus 21:12).

After the fall of the Jewish kingdoms, and the bloody purges following the forged discovery of the Book of theLaw (1 Kings 23), the cannabis holy oil was prohibited as associated with pagan worship. Yet it seems that certain sects retained the topical entheogen, and continued to practice the older religion, silently awaiting the return of a Messiah-king in the line of David.

The ministry of Jesus marked the return of the Jewish Messiah-kings, and thus the re-emergence of the holy oil. Jesus was called the Christ because he violated the Old Testament taboo on the cannabis oil and distributed it freely for initiation rites and to heal the sick and wounded.

Although there is some evidence of Jesus’ use of this Judaic cannabis oil in the traditional New Testament, we get a clearer picture of its importance when we also look at surviving Gnostic documents. The term Gnostic, meaning "knowledge", refers to a variety of early Christian sects which had extremely different beliefs about both Jesus and his teachings than those which have come down to us through modern Christianity.

Other Christian Sources

For the first four hundred years after Jesus’ birth, the term "Christian" was used to describe a wide variety of sects and a large volume of different documents. Through the acceptance of one of the more ascetic branches of Christianity by the Roman ruling class, Christianity eventually became the state religion of its former persecutors.

In an effort to unify the faith into a controllable mass, the newly formed Roman Catholic Church held a number of councils. These councils prohibited not only pagans, but also differing Christian sects, and edited a wealth of Christian literature down to the few meager documents which have survived as the modern New Testament. Z

Z The New Testament in its present form was composed and edited between 367-397AD, about twelve generations after the events in question.

In an attempt to save their manuscripts from the editorial flames of the Roman Catholic Church, certain Christians, now considered Gnostic heretics, hid copies of their scrolls in caves. One of these ancient hiding places was rediscovered in our own century, and the large collection of early Christian documents was named the Nag Hamadi Library,2 after the Egyptian area where it was found. Prior to this discovery, what little was known of the Gnostics came from a few fragmentary texts, and the many polemics written against them by the founders of the Catholic Church.

There is no reason to consider these ancient Gnostic documents as less accurate portrayals of the life and teachings of Jesus than the New Testament accounts. In a sense, the rediscovery of the Nag Hamadi Library marks the resurrection of a more historical Jesus, an ecstatic rebel sage who preached enlightenment through rituals involving magical plants, and who is more analogous to the Indian Shiva, or the Greek Dionysus, than the pious ascetic that has come down to us through the Bible’s New Testament.

The Anointed One

Contrary to the depiction given in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was likely not born as the Messiah. He received this title through his initiation by John the Baptist, and so it is not surprising that both Mark and John are conspicuously absent of the virgin-birth mythology, and begin their stories of Jesus’ short career with his initiation by John.

Although their version of Jesus’ baptism by John describes it as involving submersion under water, the term "baptism" has connotations of "initiation", and Gnostic scriptures indicate that the original rite was performed in conjunction with the kaneh-bosm anointing rite, "the annointing taking place either before or after the baptismal ceremony."3 Some Gnostic texts also specifically state that Jesus recieved the title Christ "because of the anointing,"4 not because of a water baptism.

Conceivably, the washing off of the oil with water would have been a means to begin the termination of ritual and the oil’s effects.

The description of the after-effects of the rite clearly indicates that Jesus underwent an intense psychological experience, more than one would recieve from a simple submersion in water.

K The reference to a dove may have connotations of the Goddess tradition, which was continued by the Gnostics, who paid special attention to Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom. In earlier times the dove was sacred to Astarts, Aphrodite, Ishtar and other forms of the Goddess. "Gnostic Christians said Sophia was incarnate in the dove. . . that descended on Jesus at his baptism to impregnate his mind." 12

Jesus came from Nazareth Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove. K And a voice came from heaven "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert for forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with wild animals, and angels attended him. (Mark 1: 9-13)

It should be noted that the vision and words described were seen and heard only by Jesus, as it specifically states that "he saw".

The role played by John the Baptist, as priest and prophet, is very similiar to that of the Old Testament prophet Samuel. Just as Samuel’s annointing of Saul and David marked them as Messiah-king, so did Jesus’ initiation by John make him the Christ.

In the events after Jesus’ vision and his overwhelmed recluse into the desert, there are clear parallels with the story of the prophet Samuel’s initiation of Saul with the cannabis-rich holy ointment, and Saul’s ensuing madness in the form of possession by the Spirit, and wandering off to make nabi (act in a frenzied ecstatic manner) (1 Samuel 10).

The tale of Saul’s possession by the spirit is an example of how the ancients interpreted the effects of cannabis and other entheogens. What we perceive as being "high" or "stoned" the ancients called "possessed by the Spirit of the Lord."

"As a result of the spiritual ‘anointing’ Jesus expected to be different; and he was different. The prophecies had said that the Messiah would recieve from God wisdom and insight, the power to heal and to subjugate evil. The faith of Jesus was so strong that he did not question that these capacities had now been conferred upon him." 6

The entheogenic effect of the cannabis annointing oil would have immensely magnified both Jesus’ own expectations, and the ensuing experience with John.

J The same proclamation is stated of the Anointed One, or King in Psalm 2: 7.

In some authorative texts of the Gospel according to Luke, after the Baptism the voice of God declares, "This day I have begotten thee." J This indicates that the event of Jesus’ encounter with John marks the true beginnings of Jesus’ mission and his acknowledgement as the Messiah.

The importance of the anointing, and Jesus’ own acknowledgement of it, is again exemplified in the gospel of Luke.

According to the New Testament Jesus began his ministry in Nazareth, by reading the following passage from the scroll of Isaiah and proclaiming, "today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:16)

The Spirit of Yahweh God is upon me, because Yahweh has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound… (Isaiah 61:1-2)

The Anointed Ones

Unlike the shamanistic priests and kings of earlier generations, Jesus did not follow the strict Old Testament taboos that limited the holy cannabis oils use to Yahweh’s chosen few (Exodus 30:33), but broke tradition and began to liberally use it in both healing and initiation rites.

Through this open distribution the singular Christ, "the Anointed", was extended to become the plural term "Christians", that is, those who had been smeared or anointed. "By rubbing on this divine unction. . . obtained from certain special herbs or plants, they believed they were donning the panoply of God."7

L A similar claim was made about hashish by the medieval Sufi poet Fuzuli, who recorded in his treatise Bang and Wine, the story of Basra, a disciple whose sheik felt that he had reached the ultimate degree of perfection through the consumption of hashish, and that he was no longer in need of further guidance. This story led to Fuzuli’s proclamation that "hashish is the perfect being. . . for the seeker of the mystical experience." In many ways the Sufi movement can be seen as the phoenix which rose from the ashes of the earlier Gnostics.

As the New Testament’s John explains:

. . . you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. . . . the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit – just as it has taught you, remain in him." (1 John 2: 27). L

". . . the Christian, the ‘smeared or anointed one’, received ‘knowledge of all things’ by his ‘anointing from the Holy One’ (1 John 2: 20). Thereafter he had need of no other teacher and remained forevermore endowed with all knowledge (v. 27).

M ie: Kaneh Bosm, documented as cannabis.5

"Whatever the full ingredients of the Christian unction may have been, they would certainly have included the aromatic gums and spices of the traditional Israelite anointing oil: myrrh, aromatic cane,M cinnamon, and cassia. . . Under certain enclosed conditions a mixture of these substances rubbed on the skin could produce the kind of intoxicating belief in self-omniscience referred to in the New Testament."8 N

N This quote is from scholar John Allegro, whose work I drew from for this article. Allegro was a great scholar of both the bible and ancient languages, and his work broke a lot of ground. Allegro was also the only human secularist on the original team of scholars involved in the translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, so he came to his views through more unbiased anthropological thinking than that of his more "faithful" co-researchers. In The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, Allegro translated the kaneh-bosm reference in Exodus as "aromatic cane", and I have quoted him here on how the anointing oil "could produce a kind of intoxicating belief in self-omniscience." Yet Allegro failed to make the rightful connection with cannabis, seeing instead another plant drug at use, the amanita muscaria mushroom. His writings reveal he was extremely prejudiced against cannabis, even going so far with his etymological arguments as to suggest that the Greek term "kannabis" somehow referred to a mushroom. Allegro never smoked marijuana, but his own observations of what he referred to as "the ‘pot’-smokers of today, the weary dotards who wander listlessly round our cities and universities," caused him to discount any possible use of cannabis as a means of achieving spiritual ecstasy.

The Incomplete Baptism

In the first few centuries AD, Christian Gnostic groups such as the Archontics, Valentians and Sethians rejected water baptism as superfluous, referring to it as an "incomplete baptism".9 In the tractate, the Testimony of Truth, water Baptism is rejected with a reference to the fact that Jesus baptized none of his disciples.3

Being "anointed with unutterable anointing", the so-called "sealings" recorded in the Gnostic texts, can be seen as a very literal event. "There is water in water, there is fire in chrism." (Gospel of Philip).

"The anointing with oil was the introduction of the candidate into unfading bliss, thus becoming a Christ." 10

"The oil as a sign of the gift of the Spirit was quite natural within a semetic framework, and therefore the ceremony is probably very early. . . In time the biblical meaning became obscured." 13

The survivng Gnostic descriptions of the effects of the anointing rite make it very clear that the holy oil had intense psycho-active properties, which prepared the recipient for entrance into "unfading bliss". In some Gnostic texts like the Pistis Sophia and the Books of Jeu, the "spiritual ointment" is a prerequisite for entry into the highest mystery. 10

In the Gospel of Philip it is written that the initiates of the empty rite of Baptism:

"go down into the water and come up without having received anything. . . The anointing (chrisma) is superior to baptism. For from the anointing we were called ‘anointed ones’ (Christians), not because of the baptism. And Christ also was [so] named because of the anointing, for the Father anointed the son, and the son anointed the apostles, and the apostles anointed us. [Therefore] he who has been anointed has the All. He has the resurrection, the light. . . the Holy Spirit. . . [If] one receives this unction, this person is no longer a Christian but a Christ."

Similarly, the Gospel of Truth records that Jesus specifically came into their midst so that he:

"might anoint them with the ointment. The ointment is the mercy of the Father. . . those whom he has anointed are the ones who have become perfect."

The apocryphal book, The Acts of Thomas, refers to the ointment’s entheogenic effects as being specifically derived from a certain plant:

Holy oil, given us for sanctification, hidden mystery in which the cross was shown us, you are the unfolder of the hidden parts. You are the humiliator of stubborn deeds. You are the one who shows the hidden treasures. You are the plant of kindness. Let your power come by this [unction].

Gnostic Mysteries

The Gnostics had many levels of initiation, and the mysteries of these different grades were not written down like the more esoteric surviving texts were, but were given verbally at special ceremonies. Elements like the recipe of the obviously psychoactive holy oil were guarded with the closest secrecy, and were known only by the sect’s most trusted initiates. This was a standard mystery school method, as "magic revealed is magic lost", and such secrets could only be entrusted to the group’s most loyal members.

"Gnostic treatises did not reveal the whole matter. . . the final revelation was only communicated by word of mouth in the body, and by vision out of the body."10

"It is certain that Gnostic texts even in cultic matters favour a metaphorical symbolic manner of speaking and. . . clearly avoided communicating precise details about their ‘mysteries’."3

In 130-200AD, the Catholic Church Father Irenaeus accused the Gnostics of initiating members with "secret sacraments". In his discussion of Gnostic texts which dealt with the anointing rite, he stated that they were written in an archaic manner, "to baffle even more those who are being initiated." 14

We can add to Ireneaus’s comments that the Gnostics likely wrote in such a concealing fashion to "baffle" their persecutors, like Ireneus, whom they feared would find out the source behind the secret power of their anointing oil.

Mysteries of the Faith

Such a hidden reference to other psychoactive plants can be seen in "the mystery of the five trees", which were used by Jesus in complicated shamanistic initiation rituals. They are described in what is possibly the oldest Christian text in existence O, The Gospel of Thomas:

"…there are five trees for you in Paradise… Whoever becomes acquainted with them will not experience death."

O The Gospel of Thomas has an estimated date of composition as early as 40-100 AD, and likely predates the earliest New Testament Gospel, Mark, which is thought to have been written around 60 AD.

In the Gnostic view, "not experiencing death" meant reaching a certain state of interior purification or enlightenment, at which point the initiate would "rise from the dead" and "never grew old and became immortal." That is to say, he rose from ignorance and blindness, gained possession of the unbroken consciousness of his spiritual ego, and as such realized that he was a part of a larger Cosmic whole, which continued on long after the disappearance of the material body. Jesus referred to attaining this "higher" state of consciousness, as "entering the kingdom of heaven".

The attainment of this Gnostic state can be compared to the goal of yoga, (which itself means "union"), where the successful devotee obtains "a radical switch in consciousness obliterating the sense of individuation." 15

As with the similar goal of yoga union, the "kingdom of heaven" state was not attained instantaneously, but required years of vigorous training. Like certain older branches of yoga, a variety of psychoactive plants were used as aids to facilitate the devotee in attaining this "higher" state.

Although the Gnostic give us some detailed descriptions of these esoteric Christian teachings, it is interesting to note that they are also alluded to in New Testament accounts by Jesus himself:

"To you has been given the secret of the Kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables: so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand. . . " (Mark 4:11)

The Treasure of Light and the Mystery of the Five Trees

At the turn of the present century Professor GRS Mead summarized a German translation of a surviving Gnostic text, the "Second Book of Ieou". 16 P The text describes Jesus bidding male and female disciples to join him so that he can reveal to them the great mystery of the Treasure of Light.

P One of the few that managed to survive the Catholic Church’s editorial flames, without being hidden with the Nag Hamadi codexes.

In order to accomplish this, the candidates have to be initiated by three Baptisms: The Baptism of Water, the Baptism of Fire, and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, "and thereafter the Mystery of the Spiritual Chrism [anointing]."10

Jesus tells his followers that the master-mysteries of the Treasure of Light are involved with the mystery of the Five Trees, which may mean having knowledge of the magical plants that were used in the ceremony.

All of these mysteries Jesus promises to give to His disciples, that they may be called "Children of the Fullness (Pleroma) perfected in all mysteries." The Master then gathers His disciples, and sets forth a place of offering, placing one wine-jar on the right and on the left, and strews certain berries and spices round the vessels; He then puts a certain plant in their mouths, and another plant in their hands, and ranges them in order round the sacrifice.10

Continuing with the ritual, Jesus gives the disciples cups, along with other articles, and seals their foreheads with a magical diagram. Then, like shamanistic and magical ceremonies the world over, he turns his disciples to the four corners of the world, with their feet together in an attitude of prayer, and then offers a prayer which is prefixed with an invocation, and continues with a number of purifications and into the Baptism of Fire.

In this rite vine-branches are used; they are strewn with various materials of incense. The Eucharist is prepared…8

Q This offering of "fragrant-incense" to the Virgin of Light is reminiscent of the Old Testament offerings of kaneh-bosm incense to the Queen of Heaven (1 Kings 3:3). The Goddess played a paramount role in Gnostic theology.

The prayer [this time, is to] the Virgin of Light. . . Q the judge; she it is who gives the Water of the Baptism of Fire. A wonder is asked for in "the fire of this fragrant incense", and it is brought about by the agency of Zorokothora.R What the nature of the wonder was, is not stated. Jesus baptizes the disciples, gives them of the eucharistic sacrifice, and seals their foreheads with the seal of the Virgin of Light.

Next follows the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. In this rite both the wine-jars and vine-branches are used. A wonder again takes place, but is not further specified. After this we have the Mystery of Withdrawing the Evil of the Rulers, which consists of an elaborate incense-offering.

R The title Zorokothora is likely derived from Zoroaster, an ancient Persian prophet-shaman. Centuries before the Christian age the Zoroastrian Magi were known for their use of "bhanga" (cannabis), as well as a primordial entheogenic drink known as "haoma" or "soma", now widely identified as anamita muscaria, or fly agaric mushroom. The Zoroastrians had a great influence on Jewish culture during the years of Persian rule. The concept of heaven and hell (conspicuously absent from the Old Testament) is derived from Zoroastrianism. Jesus’ apparent knowledge of Zoroaster, and Zoroastrian sacraments, hints that perhaps amanita was identified with the entheogenic "wonder" filled "five trees" which Jesus used in his shamanistic initiation ceremonies. One of the more significant and widespread Gnostic sects, the Manicheans, were known to use anamita mushrooms, and worshipped Jesus right alongside Zoroaster. The Manicheans survived into the twelfth century in parts of Europe and China, and performed ceremonies similar to the one which Jesus is described as presiding over.

The "wonder" in the incense which so perplexed Mead was presumably a reference to its undescribable psychoactive effects. It’s also likely that the other undefined "wonder" indicates the magical properties of the different plants used in the ceremony.

It would seem to follow that the identity of the different plants, vines, and berries described in the excerpts were identified to the participants as the Mystery of the Five Trees.

At this time we can only speculate what other plants were used in the ceremony. The account of mandrake in Genesis 30: 14-16 and in Solomon’s Song of Songs 7: 13, (which seems to indicate its addition to the holy anointing oil), clearly document the long term interest the Hebrews had with these seemingly magical plant angels.

That the use and knowledge of such plants could have been passed down by certain "heretical" branches of the faith such as the Gnostics seems self evident. The addition of such a powerful hallucinatory drug such as mandrake (or belladonna, which was also popular in the Middle East at that time) would help to explain some of the extreme experiences related to the holy anointings and baptisms described in the Gnostic literature. S

S Recipes for medieval witches’ "flying ointments" contain cannabis, mandrake, belladonna and other entheogens, and the out-of-body experiences attributed to the Gnostics have many parallels with the Witches Sabat, as do aspects of their cosmology.

The Leaves of the Tree are for the Healing of the Nations

Cannabis is likely the most useful plant medicine in existence, and it has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments throughout history. Few readers will not be aware of the international fight taking place at this time, to get the sick and dying access to the amazing healing and curative powers of the cannabis plant’s leaves and flowers.

As such, it should not be surprising to find that there are numerous references to the early Christians healing with the anointing oil, giving further indication that Jesus and his apostles had begun to freely dispense the sacred kaneh-bosm anointing oil, which had previously been under a strictly enforced prohibition, restricting its use to the Hebrew priests and kings.

Knowledge of cannabis’ healing powers may account for some of Jesus’ healing "miracles".T The Acts of Thomas specifically invokes the healing quality of the sacred plant into the holy oil: "You are the plant of kindness. Let your power come. . . and heal by this unction."

The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles demonstrates Jesus’ own view of the importance of this rite, when he gives the disciples an "unguent box" and a "pouch full of medicine" with instructions to go into the City of Habitation, and heal the sick. He tells them you must heal "the bodies first" before you can "heal the heart".

T Like other ancient historians, Biblical authors had a tendency to magnify historical events and make them appear miraculous. The earliest gospel is thought to have been recorded about 60 years after the crucifixion, and such a text cannot be regarded as an accurate, contemporary historical account. With time, imagination and fancy have a tendency to obscure memory. Yet it seems possible that many of the New Testament accounts could have at their basis logically explainable events, which became shortened and glorified into the unexplained miracles of the New Testament Gospels.

"Knowledge and healing were two aspects of the same life-force. If to be rubbed with the ‘Holy Plant’ was to receive divine knowledge, it was also to be cured of every sickness. James suggests that anyone of the Christian community who was sick should call to the elders to anoint him with oil in the name of Jesus The Twelve are sent out among their fellow-men casting out demons and anointing the sick with oil (Mark 6:13)."8

At the time of Christ, no differentiation was made between medical treatment and exorcism or miracles, all three were interrelated. To cure someone of a disease or to relieve them of an injury was paramount to exorcising the tormenting spirit, or miraculously healing them.

Thus it is not so surprising to find that the anointing oil expelled demons and gave protection against them, correspondingly it cured and dispelled the "sickness" of the soul and body. Exorcism (literally "driving out") was performed by means of anointing. The ancient magical texts provide abundant evidence for this application of oil.3

The oldest New Testament Gospel, clearly verifies this use of the holy oil early on in Jesus’ controversial ministry:

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:13)

cleanse the lepers

One of Jesus’ most well known miracles is his healing of lepers, which appears in the first three New Testament Gospels. The term translated as leprosy can actually refer to any number of skin diseases, usually systemic infectious lesions or extreme allergic reactions.

Due to its topical anti-bacterial properties, cannabis has been used to treat a variety of skin diseases such as pruritis, also known as atopic dermatitis, an inflammatory skin disorder. The symptoms of pruritis are severe itching, "and patches of inflamed skin, especially on the hands, face, neck legs, and genitals,"17 a description that sounds startlingly similar to the skin disease described in Leviticus 13, called tsara’ath. It is usually translated in the Old Testament as leprosy, but has been noted by a number of scholars to be more likely a reference to a severe form of pruritis rather than true leprosy (Hansen’s disease).

In relation to Jesus’ curing of the lepers (Matthew 8,10,11 Mark 1, Luke 5,7,17), we could have an example of a disease expelled through the use of the cannabis "holy oil". Besides the anti-bacterial properties of cannabis oil, cannabis has been said to be effective in treating sufferers of Pruritis even when administered through smoking!17

A 1960 study in Czechoslovakia concluded that "cannabidiociolic acid, a product of the unripe hemp plant, has bacteriocidal properties." 18 The Czech researchers "found that cannabis extracts containing cannabidiolic acid produced impressive antibacterial effects on a number of micro-organisms, including strains of staphylococcus that resist penicillin and other antibiotics.U

U Evidence of cannabis ointment’s topical healing abilities can also be seen in its use as a treatment for the modern "sexual leprosy" of herpes. Sufferers of cold sores and genital herpes have reported succesful treatments by soaking cannabis leaves and flowers in rubbing alcohol and then dabbing the greenish solution on the site of a potential herpetic sore outbreak. "They say it prevents blistering and makes sores disappear in a day or two."17 Direct contact with THC killed herpes virus in a 1990 research study at the University of South Florida. 19

"The Czech researchers successfully treated a variety of conditions, including ear infections, with cannabis lotions and ointments. Topical application of cannabis relieved pain and prevented infection in second-degree burns. . . "17

heal the wounded

The Gnostic Gospel of Philip makes direct reference to how the holy oil "healed the wounds", and not suprisingly we find that cannabis was used in salves and ointments for burns and wounds throughout the middle-ages. Cannabis resin was also used for other topical applications, especially in relieving the pain of worn and crippled joints.

The Acts of Thomas specifically states "Thou holy oil given unto us for sanctification. . . thou art the straightener of the crooked limbs." This medicinal quality of cannabis oil could account for the miraculous healings of cripples attributed to Jesus and his disciples.

"Cannabis is a topical analgesic. Until 1937, virtually all corn plasters, muscle ointments, and [cystic] fibrosis poultices were made from or with cannabis extracts."19

A common and effective home remedy for rheumatism in South America was to heat cannabis in water with alcohol, and rub the solution into the affected areas. In the middle of the 19th century Dr WB O’Shaughnessy claimed to have successfully treated rheumatism (along with other maladies), with "half grain doses of cannabis resin" given orally. 20

cast out demons

In the ancient world and up until medieval times, the disease now known as epilepsy was commonly considered to be demonic possession, and its victims were outcasts from society. Here again, we could have an explanation for events of demonic exorcism (as in Mark 5, Luke 8), and the demon’s expulsion by the use of cannabis.

Dr Lester Grinspoon and other medical marijuana advocates have offered testimonials from modern epilepsy sufferers, who have noted the profound effects of natural marijuana in controlling their seizures. Dr Grinspoon also points to the positive results of cannabis and synthetic cannabidiol in the treatment of epilepsy obtained in a 1975 report, 21 and again in a 1980 study which concluded "for some patients cannabidiol combined with standard antileptics may be useful in controlling seizures. Whether cannabidiol alone, in large doses, would be helpful is not known." 22

Other ailments of spasmodic muscular contractions such as Dystonias, which results in abnormal movements and postures, have been beneficially treated with the administration of cannabis.17

Another of the miracles attributed to Jesus was the healing of a woman from chronic menstruation (Luke 8:43-48). Again we find that cannabis has been used for the treatment of such ailments, as the US Dispensary of 1854 listed cannabis extract as a remedy for "uterine hemorrhage", as well as other maladies. V

V "The complaints to which it has been specifically recommended are neuralgia, gout, tetanus, hydrophobia, epidemic cholera, convulsions, chorea, hysteria, mental depression, insanity." (US Dispensatory of 1854). 24

Although the Biblical story of Jesus’ cure of the menstruating woman describes this event as a faith healing which results from the woman touching Jesus’ robe, and him feeling the "power" go out from him, an actual remedy seems more likely. That such a medicinal remedy could be considered a miracle is not at all far-fetched.

Although far beyond the breadth or intent of this article to document, cannabis has also been used successfully to treat glaucoma, arthritis, depression and mood disorders, migraines and chronic pain.

Archaeological Evidence

In an earlier article (CC#5) the use of cannabis among the Jews prior to the Christian period was documented, and a recent archeological dig in Bet Shemesh near Jerusalem has confirmed that cannabis medicine was in use in the area up until the fourth century. Thus it would seem to stand to reason that it was used for these purposes throughout the intervening Christian period.

In the case of the Bet Shemesh dig, the cannabis had been used as an aid in child bearing, both as a healing balm and an inhalant. Scientists commenting on the find noted that cannabis was used as a medicine as early as the 16th century BC, in Egypt. 24

This find garnered some attention, as can be seen from the Associated Press article, "Hashish evidence is 1,600 years old", that appeared in Vancouver newspaper The Province, on June 2, 1992:

Archaeologists have found hard evidence that hashish was used as a medicine 1,600 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority said yesterday.

Archaeologists uncovered organic remains of a substance containing hashish, grasses and fruit on the abdominal area of a teenage female’s skeleton that dates back to the fourth century, the antiquities authority said in a statement.

Anthropologist Joel Zias said that although researchers knew hashish had been used as a medicine, this is the first archeological evidence. (Associated Press 1992).

Although the idea that Jesus and his disciples used a healing cannabis ointment may seem far-fetched at first, when weighed against the popular alternative (one that is held by millions of believers) that Jesus performed his healing miracles magically, through the power invested in him by the omnipotent Lord of the Universe, the case for ancient accounts of medicinal cannabis seems a far more likely explanation.

Indeed, it was through the dawning of the Spirit, provided by the entheogenic and healing anointing oil, that the early followers of Jesus came to consider themselves Christians, or Anointed-Ones! Ironically, many modern day Christians zealously persecute marijuana culture, unaware that the name of their faith makes reference to a psychoactive topical ointment that was rich in cannabis.

Adapted from Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible: The Pagan Origins of the Judaic and Christian Traditions (Volume 2, The New Testament and Related Literature). By Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen.

References

  1. TW Doane, Bible Myths and their Parallels in Other Religions. First published in 1882, republished in 1985 by Health Research.

  2. The Nag Hamadi Library in English, James Robinson Ed. Harper Collins, 1978, 1988
    The Nag Hamadi Library is also available online.

  3. Kurt Rudolph, Gnosis: The Nature and History of Gnosticism. Harper, San Francisco, 1987.

  4. Gospel of Philip.

  5. Sula Benet, Early Diffusions and Folk Uses of Hemp. (Reprinted in Cannabis and Culture, Vera Rubin, Ed. The Hague: Moutan, 1975.)

    Sula Benet (as Sara Benetowa) Tracing One Word Through Different Languages. (1936). (Reprinted in The Book of Grass, 1967.)

    Weston La Barre, Culture in Context; Selected Writings of Weston La Barre. Duke University Press, 1980

  6. Dr Hugh Schonfield, The Passover Plot. Bantam Books, 1967.

  7. John Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Christian Myth. 1980.

  8. John Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross. Paper Jacks, 1970.

  9. The Paraphrase of Shem.

  10. GRS Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: Some Short Sketches Among the Gnostics of the First Two Centuries. Theosophical Publishing Society, London and Benares, 1900

  11. Cailin Matthews, Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom. The Aquarian Press (an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers), 1992.

  12. Barbara G Walker, The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Harper Collins, 1983

  13. Henry Chadwick, The Early Church. Pelican Books, 1967.

  14. Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels. Random House, 1979.

  15. George Feurstein, Encyclopedic Dictionary of Yoga. Paragon House, 1990.

  16. Codex Brucianus, an 1892 German translation by Dr Carl Schmidt. (quoted by Chris Bennett, Osburn & Osburn, Green Gold the Tree of Life: Marijuana in Magic and Religion. Access Unlimited, 1995.)

  17. Dr Lester Grinspoon and James Bakalar, Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1993.

  18. Todd Mikuriya, MD, Ed, Marijuana Medical Papers. Medi-Comp Press, 1973.

  19. Jack Herer, The Emperor Wears No Clothes; Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy. Queen of Clubs Publishing, 1985-95.

  20. WB O’Shaughnessy, On the Preparation of Indian Hemp (1839). (Reprinted in Marijuana Medical Papers, Todd Mikuriya, MD, Ed. Medi-Comp Press, 1973.

  21. Consroe, Wood and Buchsbaum, "Anticonvulsant Nature of Marihuana Smoking", Journal of the American Medical Association 234 1975: 306-307.

  22. Cunha, Carlini, Pereira, et al, "Chronic Administration of Cannabidiol to Healthy Volunteers and Epileptic Patients", Pharmacology 21, 1980: 175-185.

  23. Nature Vol 363, 20 May, 1993.

  24. Ernest Abel, Marihuana, The First Twelve Thousand Years. Plenum Press, 1980.
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prohabition and the herb

See for yourself what the Bible says. The WWW Bible Gateway has concordances for the King James, the American Standard and four or five other translations. It’s easy to do word or verse searches.

Marijuana & the Bible

And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. — Ezekiel 34:29


"The Lord said unto me, ‘I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs.’ " — Isaiah 18:4-5


JesusMedical MarijuanaRelevant Quotes

"Lord, when did we see thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?" And the King will answer and say unto them, "Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethern, ye have done it unto me." — Matthew 25:39-40

Go forth, and visit a prisoner today. http://www.hr95.org


What is the Word of God on the Cannabis plant?

The hemp plant (scientific name: cannabis, slang: marijuana) is one of the many useful herbs "yielding seed after its kind" created and blessed by God on the third day of creation, "and God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:12) He gave hemp for people to use with our free will.

God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat." … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:29-31) The Bible predicts some herb’s prohibition. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-3)

The Bible speaks of a special plant. "I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." (Ezekiel 34:29) A healing plant. On either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare 12 manner of fruits, and yielding her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelations 22:1-2) A gift from God.

How was cannabis used in Biblical times and lands?

Cannabis was used 12 ways: clothing, paper, cord, sails, fishnet, oil, sealant, incense, food, and in ceremony, relaxation and medicine. For so the Lord said unto me, "I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs. For afore harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches." (Isaiah 18:4-5)

What about cannabis today?

Hemp today has thousands of uses. Modern technology has devised many new uses for the hemp plant&emdash;like biomass energy, building materials, fuel, plastic and so on. Hemp is ecological and its seed is among the best food crops on Earth. Selected varieties produce flowers that provide an herbal relaxant and a spiritual tool. Its herb is used globally as medicine.

Does the Bible discuss drugs?

Alcohol is the only drug openly discussed in the Bible, so it must serve as our reference. Wine is drunk during religious occasions such as Passover &emdash; the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples. It remains a sacrament in modern church services.

Jesus began his public life by miraculously turning water into wine at the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-10) when the reception ran out. The Bible distinguishes between use and misuse. It says, Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. (Proverbs 31:6-7) but Woe unto them that … follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! (Isaiah 5:10)

Yet the simple joys of drinking were also sung. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man and oil to make his face to shineth. (Psalm 104:14-15)

Did Jesus speak about choice?

He said not to criticize other people for their habits. "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; that which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man." (Mat. 15:11) The apostle Paul wrote, I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. … For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Paul: Romans 14:14,17)

Did He speak of government?

Jesus said to keep church and state apart. "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s and unto God the things which be God’s." (Luke 20:25) As we have seen, it was God, not government, who gave man the herbs to use. And it was government that put Jesus to death.

Property forfeiture laws?

He warned us about seizure and forfeiture laws. "Beware of the scribes which …devour widows’ houses…. The same shall receive greater damnation." (Luke 20:46-47) Jesus, too, was a victim. The soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part. (John. 19:33)

What about the Drug War?

Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9)

It was God who created cannabis hemp and told mankind to use "every green herb" on Earth. The Bible speaks of mercy, healing and a persecution of God’s children. They persecute me wrongfully; help thou me. (Psalms 119:86) Prisons and drug wars do not save souls. The Lord… hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

What should the ministry do?

Teach God’s truth. Warn your congregation that the war on marijuana is unchristian and must be ended. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you will be no priest to Me … for I desired mercy and not sacrifice. (Hosea 4:6, 6:6)

Remember: Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving…. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:4-6)


Summary analysis of the foregoing discussion

What does the Bible say about marijuana? The Bible says that God created hemp for people to use "as meat," (ie, to consume), that its seed oil is to be used as an ointment, and that cannabis is "to be received with thanks-giving of them which believe and know the truth." Paul also warned that some people would "speak lies in hypocrisy" and prohibit us from using it.

It also says that we "shall not bear false witness" about people who use cannabis, nor judge them because that judgement is reserved to the Lord. The Lord hates those who speak lies and sow discord among brethern. For those people harrassed and imprisoned for using cannabis rightfuly, Jesus offers these words of comfort, "Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness’s sake: For theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

What would Jesus do regarding medical marijuana?

Despite common knowledge and widespread scientific support, the federal government has for nearly 30 years kept cannabis in schedule 1 as a deliberate way to deny patients access to medical marijuana. This includes people suffering from asthma, cancer, migraine headache, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, and provides relief for many other conditions. As a result, people at various locations across the USA have had to risk and suffer years in prison for providing medical marijuana to patients as an act of compassion and personal conscience. What would Jesus do? He chose to break the law in order to heal the sick.

"At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn, and his disciples were hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day 3) But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungered, and they that were with him? … 10) And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered, And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. 11) And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? 12) How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. 13) Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. 14) Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. 15) But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence, and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; 16) And charged them that they should not make him known." (Matthew 12: 1-2, 10-16) (also see Mark 3, Luke 13, John 9)

Should people give blind obedience to government?

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2) Why do thy disciple transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread." 3) But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? … 7) Ye hypocrites! … 12) Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13) But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14) Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind, And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:1-3, 7, 12-14)


Passages from the King James Bible that are relevant
to the legal and moral status of Cannabis sativa, L.

And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12)

God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so." And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Gen. 1:29-31)

(No prohibition of cannabis or any other drug is made in the Ten Commandments: See Ex. 20:1-17)

(Cannabis is mentioned in Ex. 30:23 but King James mistranslated it as ‘sweet calamus’) :
Moreover, the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even 250 shekels, and of qaneh-bosm [cannabis] 250 shekels, 24 And of cassia 500 shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy anointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thous shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick ahd his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar of burnt offerings with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. (Exodus 30:22-29)

* As one shekel equals approximately 16.37 grams, this means that the THC from over 9 pounds of flowering cannabis tops were extracted into a hind, about 6.5 litres of oil. The entheogenic effects of such a solution — even when applied topically -would undoubtedly have been intense.

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man and oil to make his face to shineth. (Psalm 104:14-15)

The Lord said unto me, "I will take my rest and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches. (Is. 18:4-5)

And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. (Ezekiel 34:29)

(Jesus:) "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (Matt. 15:11)

One believeth that he may eat all things. Another…eateth herbs. … Let us not, therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Epistle of St. Paul: Romans 14: 2,3,13,14,17)

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereupon thou hast attained. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-6)

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielding her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Rev. 22:1-2)

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