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Pope Francis Opposes Marijuana Legalization, Questions Methadone

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June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis said he opposed efforts to legalize marijuana and questioned the use of substitute drugs like methadone to treat heroin addicts.

“Drugs are an evil, and with evil you can’t give way or compromise,” Francis told participants at a drug control conference today. “Even the partial legalization of so-called recreational drugs, besides being questionable on legal grounds, doesn’t produce the intended effects,” he said, according to a text of his remarks posted on the Vatican’s website.

Francis, 77, is stepping into the marijuana debate as developed countries are increasingly willing to experiment with legalization. He is bringing the credibility on social issues he earned in his first year as pontiff by denouncing the treatment of African migrants in Europe and demanding policy makers act to address the widening income gap.

“Substitute drugs, moreover, aren’t a sufficient therapy, but rather a hidden way to surrender,” Francis said. “I want to emphasize what I’ve said in other occasions. No to every type of drug. Simply no to every type of drug.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in Rome at afrye@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Crawford at acrawford6@bloomberg.net Andrew Atkinson, Marco Bertacche

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