Pope Francis Speaks Out Against Legalizing Recreational Drugs - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Pope Francis Speaks Out Against Legalizing Recreational Drugs

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ROME – Pope Francis is making his views known when it comes to the legalization of drugs, telling a drug enforcement conference in Rome that "the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs."

"Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs!" the pope said. "Drugs are evil, and with evil there can't be retreat."

The pontiff put his moral weight behind a movement seeking to counter gains made by pro-legalization groups in Europe, South America and the U.S.

"Legalization of so-called recreational drugs is not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but it fails to produce the desired effects," Pope Francis said.

The pope has a long history of speaking out against drug use, spending much of his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires caring for addicts.

But just last month, Argentina's neighbor Uruguay cleared the way for sales of marijuana in pharmacies.

Here in the U.S., recreational use is legal in Colorado and Washington State, and medical marijuana is now available in 22 states, with New York poised to become the 23rd.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) said, "Medical marijuana has the capacity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who are in pain and suffering."

But Pope Francis says the underlying problems leading to drug use must be addressed, and more legalization isn't the answer.

"Replacement drugs are not an adequate therapy, but instead a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon," Pope Francis said. "I want to repeat what I've already said on other occasions: no to any type of drug!"

Oregon is expected to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in November. A similar ballot measure was narrowly defeated in 2012.

And new legislation passed in Philadelphia reduces the penalty for minor pot possession, but many wonder whether it will stick. The bill, passed along straight party lines with a veto-proof majority, is set to take effect in three months. Mayor Michael Nutter has until September to deice whether to sign it.

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