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Pope Francis says he opposes making recreational drugs legal

By Michael Pearson, CNN
June 20, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
Pope Francis speaks during the feast-day Mass on a one-day trip to the Calabrian region of Italy on Saturday, June 21. The Pope spoke out against the Mafia's "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good," and declared that "mafiosi are excommunicated, not in communion with God.' Pope Francis speaks during the feast-day Mass on a one-day trip to the Calabrian region of Italy on Saturday, June 21. The Pope spoke out against the Mafia's "adoration of evil and contempt for the common good," and declared that "mafiosi are excommunicated, not in communion with God.'
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Legalizing drug use is a bad idea, Pope Francis says
  • "There can be no yielding or compromise" to the evil of drugs, he says
  • Public sentiment isn't with him; most Americans at least now favor legalization
  • Uruguay recently legalized marijuana, and Jamaica is set to decriminalize it soon

(CNN) -- Are you stoned?

That's the message Pope Francis seemed to be sending lawmakers Friday, saying the growing worldwide trend toward legalizing recreational drugs is a very, very bad idea.

"Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise," he told participants at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

The Pope's call isn't shocking. Francis has spoken of the dangers of drug use before.

Rock star Pope shakes up the Vatican

But it lends his voice and the authority of the Catholic Church to the growing worldwide debate over legalizing or at least decriminalizing some recreational drugs, most notably marijuana.

Two U.S. states -- Colorado and Washington -- have made marijuana use legal, and several other states, cities and countries have decriminalized its use or have announced plans to do so.

Uruguay passed a law in December to create a regulated marijuana marketplace. Jamaican officials said this month that they plan to modify that nation's laws to decriminalize pot use and possession.

And public opinion has rapidly shifted toward softer policies on marijuana use, particularly.

In January, a CNN/ORC International survey found that 55% of respondents wanted to see marijuana made legal. That's up from 16% in 1987, according to the CNN poll and numbers from the General Social Survey.

But Francis said such policies are "not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects."

"To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem," he said.

Could pot push voters to the polls this fall?

Gupta: 'I am doubling down' on medical marijuana

CNN's Hada Messia contributed to this report.

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