"Of particular concern regarding the movement toward legalization is the impact on children," the statement said.
"Proponents argue that usage will be restricted to age 21 and older but, as we have seen in the alcohol and tobacco industries, producers of harmful products always find a way to market their products to children."
The bishops said that no increase in revenue would be worth the "increased teenage and childhood usage, harmful effects on developing brains, addiction, natural progression to harder drug use, increased impairment-related transportation accidents and deaths, and other potential public health and safety issues."
The statement also acknowledged racial disparities among those arrested for marijuana use and possession. These disparities, which show a disproportionate effect on minority communities, have been advanced by legalization supporters as a benefit of decriminalization.
"We take this issue seriously," the bishops wrote.
(Story continues below)
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"The state can and should take appropriate measures to ensure that skin color or zip code do not result in different outcomes for the same offense, including re-evaluating the justice of current criminal penalties for low-level possession."
"We must not simply throw up our hands and legalize a harmful substance in order to declare the problem of discrimination solved."