ARIZONA CATHOLIC CONFERENCE BISHOPS’ STATEMENT
OPPOSING THE LEGALIZATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 207
Consistent with our long-standing position, the Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference remain opposed to the current initiative (Proposition 207) to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona. While we are concerned for several reasons, our opposition is primarily rooted in the belief that making recreational marijuana legal is harmful to both children and families in Arizona.
Legalizing the recreational use of marijuana sends a message to children that drug use is socially and morally acceptable. As people of faith, we must speak out against this effort and the damaging effects its passage would have on children and families.
We already know that problematic marijuana use is 25 percent higher among teens in states that legalized recreational marijuana. In Arizona, this is particularly alarming because the percentage of eighth, tenth, and twelfth grade students who say they use marijuana has already increased over the past four years as perceptions of risk have fallen.
Furthermore, the most recent child fatality report for the State of Arizona listed marijuana as a direct or contributing factor in almost as many child deaths as alcohol. The prior year, child deaths resulting from marijuana were even higher than alcohol.
For the reasons mentioned above, and others, it is anticipated that legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Arizona will lead to more abuse by teens, increase child fatalities, and result in more societal costs. Accordingly, due to these detrimental effects, we strongly oppose this dangerous proposal.
Most Rev. Edward J. Weisenburger
Bishop of Tucson
Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. James S. Wall
Bishop of Gallup
Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares
Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix
Most Rev. John S. Pazak
Holy Protection of Mary Byzantine Catholic Eparchy of Phoenix