In June of 2014, Pope Francis made big headlines by referring to marijuana legalization as a “flawed and failed experiment.” The Pope made the declaration at a drug-enforcement conference in Rome, and his comments went viral immediately. The Pope ended the talk by saying that drug legalization fails to produce “the desired effects.”
The Word from the Vatican
Incidentally, the Pope leveled the historic verdict shortly after Jamaica decriminalized the possession of recreational amounts of pot. Many analysts agree that legalization of soft drugs in the region could eventually spur Jamaica’s economy, as the country has the potential to produce a large quantity of cannabis.
At the conference, the Pope also had this to say, “Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs.” Interestingly, the Pope did not comment on the drug war in the U.S., which has been going on for decades, and for which the U.S. government has little to show.
The Pope also left home country Argentina out of his speech. The country recently decriminalized several drugs. Argentina traditionally took an extremely aggressive stance toward drug use, but its prison system is now overflowing, and one-third of the incarcerated were jailed on drug-related crimes. The Pope did not touch on the issue of medical marijuana, leaving the issue a bit cloudy for Catholics.
K.C stark, CEO of the Marijuana Business Academy, immediately took to social media with this message, “Indeed… the Bible says that God gave us all seed bearing plants.” Timothy 4:1-16, says, “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” Still, the Bible is conflicted on this issue, and for every pro-herb quote, there is an anti-drug passage.
Several medical marijuana users have also spoken up. These disgruntled patients criticize the Pope for being relatively progressive on other issues while remaining staunchly against cannabis legalization. One primary concern is that the Pope’s decree may hinder the recent progress that these individuals have made in getting marijuana approved for use with hard-to-manage conditions like epilepsy. Naturally, the Pope has no jurisdiction outside the Vatican, but critics worry that catholic members of government will allow their religious leanings to impact policy.
There’s no doubt that the Pope’s ruling resonates with conservative Republicans. Chris Christie, conservative catholic and incumbent governor of New Jersey, recently said at an Ask The Governor gathering that marijuana that he will not support any drug legalization. All of this occurred despite the fact that a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that around half the citizens of the state are in favor of pot legalization.