Three years ago, "Mike"—a 20-year-old newcomer to the faith—stepped into my church office. He sat down on my office couch, distressed.

"What's going on, man?" I asked. The fact that he was hiding something couldn't have been more obvious.

"Well," he muttered. "Umm … I've been smoking too much pot lately."

"Just 'too much'?" I asked with a wry, confident smile. "Listen, friend, any pot smoking is too much pot smoking. It is illegal, after all."

"Actually," he said, "it's not illegal for me. I've got my medical marijuana card."

Uh-oh, I thought.

Sure enough: he was legal. He had come by the "license to toke" fairly. He didn't lie or exaggerate to get it. We have newspapers in Portland printing advertisements from doctors: "Headaches? Nausea? Pain? Come get your prescription!" I could get a prescription if I wanted one. Two blocks ...

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