Recent statistics show that of all traffic deaths in Colorado, 21 percent of those individuals killed tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana related hospitalizations in Colorado have doubled from 2011 to 2014," the bishops wrote.
"Marijuana use and abuse by the youth of Colorado has increased by 20 percent since legalization. Young people in Colorado rank first in the nation for marijuana use – an illegal activity for anyone under the age of 21. Strikingly, this has negatively affected their family life, social life and school performance where expulsions and drop-out rates have spiked significantly. Do we really want to bring these issues to Massachusetts?" they added.
Father Richard McGowan, a Jesuit priest who studies drug and tobacco legalization at Boston College, told The Atlantic that the legalization of marijuana is going to make it "that much more difficult" for the Church to go about one of its primary tasks – alleviating poverty and building up families.
The Knights of Columbus, also donors in the campaign against legalization, told The Atlantic, "The focus of the state of Massachusetts should be on helping people, not giving them easier access to the false hope inherent in drug use, which does not solve problems but compounds them."
In his videos, Cardinal O'Malley added that the Catholic Church is not the only institution opposed to the legalization of marijuana. He said he met with other denominations who also "see the consequences of this and are very very opposed to it."
Medical professionals as well as "the law enforcement community, the mayors, the governor, they all stand with us," he said, as well as many within the business community who are concerned about addiction to marijuana.
"It's not just the Church. We're joining with many other people who are very concerned about this in the commonwealth of Massachusetts."
Mary Farrow worked as a staff writer for Catholic News Agency until 2020. She has a degree in journalism and English education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.