Pope Francis Slams Drug Legalization

By McCarton Ackerman 06/24/14

While he opposes legalization, the Pope remains compassionate towards addicts.

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Although a new poll indicates that the majority of Americans are now in favor of legalizing pot, don’t expect Pope Francis to support the idea anytime soon.

Last week at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome, the Pope spoke about the dangers of drug use and condemned drug legalization. "Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise," he told participants at the conference. “To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem.”

The Pope's comments come on the heels of other countries either relaxing their marijuana laws or announcing plans to do so. Uruguay approved a government-regulated marijuana marketplace last December, while Jamaican officials announced earlier this month that they plan to decriminalize both marijuana use and possession.

His comments are similar to ones that he echoed last July while attending the Roman Catholic World Youth Day festival in Brazil. He slammed Latin America’s more recent trend towards “softer” drug policies and "liberalization" on the subject, declaring that "a reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use.” He also referred to drug cartels as “dealers of death” who exploit addicts for power and money.

Despite his opposition to legalization, Pope Francis has demonstrated compassion towards addicts. He visited recovering addicts at a drug treatment wing at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro during his visit and said that they deserve compassion. He believes that in order to tackle the epidemic of drug abuse, “it is necessary to tackle the problems which are at the root of drug abuse…promoting more justice, educating the youth with the values that live in society, standing by those who face hardship, and giving them hope for the future."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.