As Election Day draws closer, the Catholic Church once again makes its presence known by unsurprisingly pledging its efforts to defeat cannabis legalization. In Massachusetts, the Boston Archdiocese donated $850,000 in support of the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts which looks to defeat Question 4, the initiative that would legalize recreational cannabis for the state. This is, by far, the biggest contribution to the anti-cannabis campaign, marking a 50% increase in funding. A spokesperson for the Archdiocese explains, “It reflects that the archdiocese holds the matter among its highest priorities. It’s a recognition that, if passed, the law would have significantly detrimental impacts on our parishes, our ministries.”
Opponents of Question 4 use the slippery slope argument of cannabis being a gateway drug and exacerbating the opioid epidemic while also being dangerous to children. Proponents for the initiative assure that the market would be safer and better-regulated while generating new taxes for the state.
The Catholic Church isn’t alone in their stance against legalizing, the Mormon Church has also joined the fray in which leaders have sent letters to their members in Arizona, California and Nevada. The aforementioned states as well as Massachusetts and Maine will all be deciding on whether or not to legalize recreational cannabis while Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota will vote on initiatives for medical cannabis.
Unfortunately, the churches seem to be preaching to the choir as public opinion is largely in favor of legalization. In Massachusetts, the support for Question 4 is at 49% over the 42% who are opposed. According to a Quinnipiac University survey, 54% of registered U.S. voters say they support legalization, marking this an all-time high of support. We will see if the supporters will stick to their words come Election Day.