The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics briefly used its official Facebook page on Aug. 26 to debate marijuana and the Bible. CNS photo/David McNew, Reuters

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics jumps into Bible, pot debate

By  Greg Horton, Religion News Service
  • September 9, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics briefly used its official Facebook page on Aug. 26 to debate marijuana and the Bible. After two commenters posted references to the Bible in response to a story about the detrimental effects of marijuana on the brain, a bureau employee engaged them in a theological argument.

Joshua Lewelling, a medical marijuana legalization activist and retired Air Force veteran who lives in Inola, Okla., posted a reference to Genesis 1:29: “And I give you every seed-bearing plant to use for food for it is good.”

The response to Lewelling’s initial response rankled Lewelling because he believed the bureau was lecturing him about his own Christian faith.

“I was talking about the obvious benefits of ingesting marijuana, not smoking it to get high,” Lewelling said. He works for Green the Vote, an organization that recently petitioned the state government to legalize medical marijuana.

The agency’s response seemed to go beyond simple discussion of drug policy into sermonizing about the merits of the Bible. After writing that the verse in Genesis is “about God’s plan to provide food to sustain life,” the bureau employee wrote, “You can’t cherry-pick scripture to find verses that fit your argument. You must take the Bible for all its worth.”

Mark Woodward, a spokesman for the agency, said it regularly responds to people commenting on the Facebook page.

“Our answer was based on research and interpretation, and we replied with what we believe is accurate information,” Woodward said. “We’re not endorsing religion. We would respond to comments about the Quran or the NFL playbook if they were referenced.”

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