Catholic figures weigh in on California’s marijuana legalization measure
A measure to legalize marijuana is on the ballot in California. While the state’s Catholic bishops have not taken an official position, the Bishop of Oakland has warned the measure could increase young people’s permissive attitudes to the drug, whose use counters the need to care for the body.
Proposition 19 would legalize the drug under California law and would permit local governments to regulate and tax its commercial production, distribution and sale. It also reestablishes as a felony the sale or provision of cannabis to a minor.
Fr. Gerald Coleman analyzed the initiative in a May 5 commentary in the online edition of Catholic San Francisco.
He reported that marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the United States, with more frequent use than all other illegal drugs combined. It is estimated that more than two million Americans smoke it every day.
According to Fr. Coleman, there is “substantial evidence” that habitual and heavy marijuana smoking may cause chronic bronchitis, damage the pulmonary system and produce cancers in the mouth, throat and lungs though short-term effects seem to be no more harmful than moderate alcohol consumption.