UNTIL a few nights ago, my tendency was to assume an open mind about efforts from some quarters to “legalize” the use of illegal substances for medical purpose. In the Philippines, an example is the push to legalize the use of a plant known as “Mary Jane.”

But the other night, while I was helping prepare food for our dinner, someone knocked on our kitchen door wanting to come in. As he entered, he identified himself as the son of a former carpenter, a distant relative of my great grandfather from Bayong, our town’s mountain barangay.

I asked him what he came for. He said somebody was out to kill him. Luckily my nephew, who works with Tsuneishi as crane operator and who stays with us during work days, recognized the man. Joseph told him that the “man” that he claimed was out to kill him was actually a woman vendor.

But he insisted that somebody was out to kill him. He turned to me and begged me to call the police so he would be placed under their custody. Then he returned to the back of the house.

It was not long after when we heard someone walk on the rooftop and looking for a way to get into the second floor. Roel, as he was called, had climbed the elevated water tank and jumped onto the roof. We told him to come down but he climbed down the water tank and went through the window to the second floor.

When Joseph went up, Roel begged that he should not be killed. He was dragged to the ground floor, just in time for the police car to arrive. It turned out that Roel figured earlier in a shooting incident in Barangay Buanoy.

The other day, I dropped by the town’s police station to thank the police for the help. A policeman friend, R.V. Banate, told me that Roel is known to them as a heavy marijuana user. When he is “high,” he hallucinates and imagines that he is being hunted, or that someone is out to get him. So he runs around, trying to “hide” from an imagined killer.

If this is the way a heavy “Mary Jane” user behaves, what would happen to kids who are friendly of MJ, too?

There have been recent moves to make legal the use of marijuana, particularly for its supposed medicinal properties. Well, for some time now, the use of the plant has been legalized in some states in the United States.

In the Philippines, some members of Congress have filed bills attempting to test the social waters of the country regarding illegal drugs. But the Church has vehemently opposed attempts to legalize the use of illegal substances, particularly “Mary Jane.”

In a way, my stand to leave it to the individual citizen whether to use or not use marijuana changed when Roel intruded into our house and threatened the household.

I believe the use of drugs and drug users cannot be trusted in any way. There is no such thing as compromise here, a matter which is even worse than alcoholism. So, as the Pope says, no to drugs. And please, no compromise!