Unfortunately, Proposition 64 passed on the ballot last Tuesday and thus the use of recreational marijuana is now legalized in the state of California. Catholic clergy believe this poses a great health risk to teens and children especially. According to Catholic News Agency, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco warned:
“If you don’t think teens will take up marijuana, look at the history of tobacco. It was ‘cool’ to smoke until the dangers became all too apparent,” he said. “It then took decades for the smoking rate to reach today’s low levels. Will legalized marijuana follow that same pattern? What does the future hold for CBD products that are non-psychoactive?” Some people believe that there is plenty of the substance in the state anyway, so legalizing it will actually enforce more control over the substance! For example, there are states in which some citizens are allowed to buy cannabis online. Even more so with people being allowed to grow their plants within the law.
Cordileone noted that unlike alcohol, there is no reliable standard to measure the effect of marijuana on a driver. He noted his own arrest for driving under the influence in 2012, saying that drivers will wrongly deem themselves safe to drive and take chances. He also stated his belief that legalization of marijuana would lead youth to believe that it is a less risky drug.
According to Crux News, Cardinal William Levada, Archbishop emeritus of San Francisco also criticized the legalization of recreational marijuana:
“Experimenting with the health and welfare of our children, the potential impact on road safety, not to mention the medical and legal implications that are far from resolved, seem to me to take us in a dangerous and unwise direction,” he said.
“Even a cursory examination of data on marijuana legalization reveals that too little is known about the impact on the health and education of our children, the increased danger on our highways, the impact on economically challenged neighborhoods and black market expansion of cannabis-related commerce.”
Both Bishops Michael C. Barber of Oakland and San Francisco Auxiliary Bishop William J. Justice joined Archbishop Cordileone and Cardinal Levada in writing separate statements opposing the legalization of recreational marijuana in California.
California Family Council agrees with these members of the Catholic clergy and strongly urged voters to reject Proposition 64 which allowed for the recreational use of marijuana, citing similar concerns to those raised by the Catholic clergy.