Of course some good Christian pastors are all up in arms about the coincidence, loudly denouncing the use of what they consider a "gateway drug" from the pulpit. Other pastors are using the day as a day to reach out to addicts to try and convert them from their use of marijuana with catchy sermon titles, inviting them to get high on Jesus. I find this ridiculous and more than a tiny bit condescending. Even as a Christian, I realize that just because I choose not to indulge in, ahem, herbal remedies, that doesn't make me a better person than those that do.
I suppose I noticed this because as an African American woman that wears dreadlocks, I am often mistaken for being a Rasta, a practitioner of the Rastafari lifestyle. It is an entirely misunderstood practice, in that while the smoking of what they refer to as ganga as a part of their spiritual practices is an option, it's not an option that many Rastas choose to exercise. They would prefer to stick to the tenants of not polluting their body with unnatural substances (they prefer natural, not processed foods), and keeping their minds clear. Actually, the smoking of substances as a part of spiritual practice goes back much further than the early 1900's start of Rastafari.
The smoking of weed for the purpose of opening up one's mind to a higher power can be traced back to ancient Asia. Ganga, in fact, the the Sanskrit word for the plant. Indians introduced the plant to Asia in the 19th century when they were imported to Asia as cheap labor. Early Native Americans smoked native plants for much the same reason. The important thing to note, however, was that no one smoked for the purpose of getting high. That was a western construct once the side effects of the weed became widely known.
What fascinates me is the thought of opening up one's mind in order to better discern divine influences. Some Eastern religions teach the art of meditation, the purpose being the calming of your mind, in order to be more in tune with both the universe and the divine. More fundamentalist Christian leaders would have their followers believe that you need to close your mind to anything that doesn't agree with the worldview you are being taught, never mind being more in tune with everything and everyone around you. More progressive Christian leaders realize that most religious and spiritual practices have more in common than differences, and encourage certain practices, like meditation, because they know that a calm, open mind is extremely important to a focused, intentional prayer life.
If I learned anything from a short class I received on Comparative Religion, it's that people will search for enlightenment, answers to questions about the meaning of their lives and struggles, wherever they are using whatever means are available to them. For some this could mean prayer, for some meditation, and for some, yes it could be the smoking of herbs. Which is wonderful, as when people are not allowed to search for answers to eternal questions, that inner turmoil can possible manifest itself externally as violence directed towards anybody they deem different than themselves. Witness any war fought the world over for the freedom to practice one's religious preference. I am all for the Freedom of Religion, as theorized in our constitution. So long as you are not harming yourself (Really harming yourself, not as imagined by someone else.), harming anyone else, or forcing your beliefs on anyone else, search for the infinite in whatever way seems best to you.
Here's to your search for enlightenment. However you choose to pursue it.