California’s Chokehold

Artwork by Jason Flores


14 I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.

As Christians we should all be striving for a holy life. Before we receive the coveted title of saint, we must go through life’s journey. My journey is solely mine; no one can join me on this expedition. I had to endure many hard lessons to reach the maturity I have today; the journey continues from my childhood until now. As a child I learned many lessons; growing up in Brawley, a sleepy, small farm town protected us from the dangers of the world. I knew which side of the playground to stay on. A handful of bad kids isolated themselves near the chainlink fence to sniff glue. The teachers were oblivious to this activity because they were unaware of the potential harm.  Besides these were Mexican boys, so the teachers were indifferent.

Two Johns

After my parents separated I felt a sense of freedom; joy returned to my heart and though our mother feared the uncertain, God always watched over us.  I liked two boys named John. John Number One was the first boy I went on a group date with.  He lived within the city limits, so when he came calling, he had a long distance to walk because I lived in a rural area. For my birthday that summer, John gave me an album “Aftermath” by my favorite group, the Rolling Stones.

I must have lied to my mother because I went to the movies with a group of friends.  This was the first time a boy kissed me. It was not a memorable experience because I was not ready to be a girlfriend. The entire situation was awkward. I didn’t really like this John as much as I liked the other John.  In my small middle school mentality I thought for certain that I was going to marry John Number Two. When we moved up north to be near my mother’s family,  John Number One’s life took a cruel turn; he became heavily involved in drugs and died of a heroin overdose at the age of 15.

I often wondered why John Number One’s journey took such a tragic turn. What makes the human heart fall into such a deep abyss? Why did God allow this to happen to him? I thought of his family and how they must have suffered after losing someone in such a tragic manner. The Enemy was present during John’s journey. He deceived John into believing his high with heroin was acceptable and pleasurable. He thought the euphoria that the drug provided would give him pleasure and fill the void that was missing in his life.

Back in the 60’s heroin was a scary word, so  when anyone talked about this addiction it was done in secret. All that I knew about this heinous drug was that once you got hooked it was over. It was over because back in the day, there was little help, if any. Rehab facilities were only for the very wealthy, not for people like us. If you were going to kick the habit, it was done “cold turkey.” One of my older cousins became a heroin addict. After much struggle, he took the “cold turkey” road and this changed the trajectory of his life.

Walking Away From The Enemy

My cousin moved up north and started a new life. He started a new career and became an excellent handball player. He beat the odds and won the respect of many. He was lost but he found his way back. I know my aunt had spent many hours in prayer on behalf of her wayward son. Because she never gave up, her prayers  pulled him out of that pit of despair.

Smoking Weed, Marijuana, Cannabis

Today because of the Enemy’s many disguises, it’s tough to walk away from this drug. In California smoking marijuana is legal but the facts and side effects about this drug have not changed. It deadens your brain cells; but don’t worry because it’s also used for medicinal purposes. If you’re young, the temptation is there for the taking.

According to WebMD, smoking marijuana is dangerous; one in ten people who use it become addicted. The statistics are higher if you are a teen; one in six will become addicted.

California’s Weed Laws

After researching I found it interesting that all these cannabis laws were written by Democrats. They continue, working diligently to turn our state into a pit of hell. AB 2188, a new law known as NORML will go into effect in January 2024. This law will protect the rights of the pot-heads at work. NORML was written to prevent any discrimination by their employers. No more urine tests!

The University of California Berkeley operates a cannabis research program. According to its director, Ted Granthan, California has only 8,000 permitted cannabis farms but the scientists have mapped over 15,000 cannabis farms in Humboldt County alone. How can our state regulate so many illegal cannabis farms? They can’t and they don’t! This cannabis is sold on the black-market. Where do these growers of cannabis get water to irrigate their crops? In Northern California many of these farmers get water from the over stressed streams to water their plants, without any regulation of water usage.

Cannabis Farms

As I write this Blog, I now have a greater understanding as to why our state is inundated with the highest homeless population in the country. When I served the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles, most of them smoked pot. The streets reeked of marijuana.

John Number One started his drug  journey with pot and quickly graduated to heroin, the mother drug from Hell. Now in my old hometown of Brawley, hemp is being grown.

An aerial view of a marijuana farm in Mendocino County in California. Environmental damage and crime associated with illegal cannabis businesses remain firmly entrenched in the area.
New York Times

We can’t walk in the darkness, yet we are clouded by the dissension of those who fail to walk in the light. Jesus is the ray of heavenly light, and He has all the answers. (John 8:12) He is the consolation and strength for those who seek Him. For this reason, it is our responsibility as Christians to pray for our elected officials more than ever. It does us no good to fuel the fire of anger at the morass that our beautiful state has been dragged through. We were once a safe haven noted for our state’s natural beauty. Her golden skin is now tarnished with the sins of our lawmakers.

My Prayer

Lord, I ask that You bring the luster and beauty back to our Golden State. I pray a mighty hand of conviction on any lawmaker who is not representing the proper needs of our state. Lord, place in our hearts a spirit to pray for all of our political leaders. Amen.

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