‘Progressive’ Pope Francis Is Against Marijuana Legalization

While Pope 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.


After a several-week absence from the media spotlight, Pope Francis emerged on Friday 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.”


“We will be able to get more information about the consequences of different alternatives,” Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Group, told Newsweek at the time.

Earlier this month, Jamaica said it would legalize medical marijuana, and allow possession of up to two ounces of the drug for recreational use. In the United States, two states—Colorado and Washington—have legalized marijuana. Alaska could vote on legalization in November, and Oregon may vote on a similar measure later this year. Twenty-two states have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes—New York is poised to become the 23rd—and 16 have decriminalized it, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). In October 2013, a Gallup poll found that for the first time, a majority of Americans believe the drug should be legalized: 58 percent, compared with just 12 percent in 1969, the first time the question was asked.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but in May the House voted to restrict the DEA from using funds to go after state-legal medical marijuana outfits. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a similar amendment in the Senate this week.

Pope Francis has spoken out against drug legalization in the past, and has visited with addicts both as Pope and when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. “A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use,” he said during a speech at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last year. “Rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.”

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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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  1. i do not share his views on this issue the book of genesis is very clear about all seed bearings plants and their purpose and use for us his creation and i say this because the word / bible is a double edge sword which means that it swings both ways on the truth because there’s no such thing as a one sided truth i myself am a shepard of the flock as well mr. pope and i speak on behalf of my flock…just saying

  2. In the catholic mass they always drink wine …..if the pope is against drugs thenhe better stop his priests from imbibing….Didn*t Jesus himself turn water into wine at the marriage feast at Cannea….I*m sure if they had ganga growing in Palisitine He would have turned olive leaves into good choof and He would not have interfered when the boys wanted to stone the woman caught in adultry

  3. First of all, this article is bullshit and put together by invisable informants. If you ask to legalize cannabis, that would be a fair question, but the real question here states “does the pope think all drugs including cannabis should be legalized?”. So once again, manipulative questionaire citing, incorrect botanical names, no reliable source as to which people created this article, and cannabis has been put on the back bench with all other drugs and made out as though the question was poised directly to cannabis human rights, even though it’s the only one that’s not potentially lethal and is a herb/whole plant out of all the illicit drugs categorised. If it wasn’t for Jesus, there wouldn’t be a pope. Jesus used cannabis to heal people and used it on a daily basis. Stop bullshitting you scapegoats, it’s all still in the book despite all the changes made throughout history. The stories of miracles performed on people that are slightly dumbed down and exaggerated in the bible were from cannabis oil. The anointing oil.

  4. Pope, baby: how about contrasting the health effects of alcohol and tobacco, vs. cannabis? You would be doing a great thing if you campaigned for the removal of the scourges of alcohol and tobacco from society.

  5. I have seen more hypocracy in the catholic church, than I care to be aware of. He needs to either come out of the 19th century and learn a few things (like how to get priests to stick to the celibacy oath, IF you get my drift), or shut up and stick his nose back in a Bible. Kaneh Bosun which was used to make healing oils in Jesus’ day is in the Bible (it is in the Hebrew version, anyway.)
    It was stricken from the catholic version of the bible, as was other things they didn’t like. Go away or educate yourself. I don’t care if you DO speak over 5 languages.

  6. His hloyness needs to undersand using drugs is not the reason for legalization it is about the freedom that is threatened by laws that change the stataus of a person from citizen to prisoner and hater of the government.

    1. In addition to my previous post, legalization is not about introducing something new. It is about regulating a product that is already widly avalable. Keeping it out of the hands of children. The US government has been trying for 80 years with out success to stop cannabis without real good comming out of it. We have for profit prisons now that depend on full cages to keep them in bussiness. But has caused higher crime rates, distroied families and wasts lives with lifelong poverty.

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