Pope Francis is pictured at the Canonization of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II in April 2014.
Pope Francis condemned the legalization of recreational drugs on Friday, calling drug use “the most serious and complex problem of our time.”
The Pope made the remarks at an International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome, saying "drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise.”
“Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called 'recreational drugs' are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects,” he said.
The Pope has expressed his opposition to drugs in the past. In July 2013, he told a crowd in Rio de Janeiro that “a reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use." As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis worked with "slum priests"to establish drug rehabilitation programs in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
In his remarks on Friday, the Pope stressed the importance of social programs like these in combatting drug use.
“No to every type of drug use,” he said.“No to every type of drug use,” he said. “But to say this ‘no’, one has to say ‘yes’ to life, ‘yes’ to love, ‘yes’ to others, ‘yes’ to education, ‘yes’ to greater job opportunities. If we say ‘yes’ to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.”
Argentina’s neighboring country, Uruguay, fully legalized the sale of marijuana cigarettes last month. Recreational marijuana has been legalized in the Colorado and Washington, and is set to be voted on in Oregon and Alaska later this year.