An invited guest of the International Drug Enforcement Conference, the pope told attendees, "Drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise," and noted policies encouraging the legalization of drugs for recreational purposes are "not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects. To think that harm can be reduced by permitting drug addicts to use narcotics in no way resolves the problem."
Although his comments put the Catholic Church on the opposing side of a growing global liberalization of drug laws and public opinion supporting the changes, they offer papal authority to the debate.
Marijuana purchase and personal use are legal in Colorado and Washington, with certain limitations, and other U.S. municipalities are considering decriminalization. Uruguay is preparing to initiate a regulated market in marijuana, and the Jamaican legislature has taken steps to decriminalize marijuana use and possession.