Pope Francis has made his stance on marijuana legalization plainly understood. The Pontiff condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the legal use of recreational drugs.
Since his election as the leader of millions of Catholics, Pope Francis has been seen as a reformer, for his progressive views. On Friday, however, many were surprised at the forceful way in which His Holiness came out on the topic of legal marijuana.
While meeting with those attending a drug-enforcement conference in Rome on Friday, Pope Francis stated that even limited attempts to legalize recreational drugs is questionable, at the very least, and fail to "produce the desired effects." The Pontiff added:
"Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem."The message to lawmakers is clear. Pope Francis believes that legalizing marijuana and other recreational drug is not a good idea, at all.
"Let me state this in the clearest terms possible. The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs. One has to say yes to life, yes to love, yes to others, yes to education, yes to greater job opportunities."
"If we say yes to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction."
Although some are surprised by Pope Francis' strong stance on the subject, it is nothing new. The Holy Father has expressed his concern about the dangers of drug use in the past.
While Francis doesn't have any influence on lawmakers around the world, his opinion carries weight as the leader of millions. The Pope has enjoyed a level of popularity -- among Catholics and non-Catholics alike -- rarely seen for his predecessors, earning him the title of "rock star."
As the world, in general, shifts to a more relaxed attitude regarding the legalization of marijuana, those in positions of moral authority, such as Pope Francis, are making their opinion clear. A CNN/ORC International survey conducted in January, found that 55 percent of respondents agree with the legalization of marijuana.
The debate is ongoing, not only in the U.S. -- where Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana -- but around the world. Last month, Uruguay -- a neighbor of Pope Francis' native Argentina -- legalized selling marijuana cigarettes in pharmacies.
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