Pope Francis speaks out against legalizing drugs (Newsweek)

By KIRA BINDRIM | June 20, 2014

"The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs," Pope Francis told participants at a drug enforcement conference in Rome. Max Rossi/Reuters

“The problem of drug use is not solved with drugs,” Pope Francis told participants at a drug enforcement conference in Rome. Max Rossi/Reuters

After a several-week absence from the media spotlight, Pope Francis emerged on Friday [June 20] as a speaker at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome, where he said he was opposed to the legalization of drugs—including marijuana—for recreational use. “The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders,” Francis told conference participants. “Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called ‘recreational drugs,’ are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects.” While Francis has sometimes surprised constituents with his progressive views—on homosexuality, atheism and capitalism, for example—his stance on marijuana legalization, at least, is at odds with a growing push for it. In December, Uruguay became the first country to legalize the drug (Francis is from nearby Buenos Aires, Argentina). That law included regulation of the cultivation, production, storage, sale and distribution of marijuana, as well as an official registry of users’ consumption.

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