Presbyterian Church Votes to Support Legal Access to Medical Marijuana
June 23, 2006
The Presbyterian Church (USA) joins the United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church, United Church of Christ, Union for Reform Judaism, Progressive National Baptist Convention, and the Unitarian Universalist Association in support of medical marijuana.
“Medical marijuana is an issue of mercy,” said Rev. Lynn Bledsoe, a Presbyterian minister from Alabama who works as a hospice chaplain. “As people of faith, we are called to stand up for humans who are suffering needlessly. It is unconscionable that seriously ill patients can be arrested for making an earnest attempt at healing by using medical marijuana with their doctors’ approval.”
“Legislators who give lip service to ‘moral values’ had better be consistent on the medical marijuana issue,” said Charles Thomas, executive director of the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative. “The Presbyterian Church (USA) joins six other major denominations explicitly supporting medical marijuana, while no denominations’ governing bodies have ever taken an official position against it.”
“Being seriously ill is stressful enough already without living in fear of arrest for taking doctor-recommended medicine,” said Rev. Jim McNeil, a representative of the Homestead Presbytery in Nebraska, the regional body that brought the resolution to the General Assembly. “It is the job of religious denominations to give voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves. We pray that Congress will have the compassion to stop this war on patients.”