Canadian bishops say marijuana use may soon be legal but remains sinful
Marijuana use across Canada may soon be legal in the eyes of the law, but it will remain a sin in the eyes of the Church, said Canada’s bishops.
With the exception of cannabis use for medicinal purposes, consuming marijuana violates the virtue of temperance and should be avoided, said Mgr Frank Leo, general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“The virtue of temperance, as explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ‘disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco or medicine’,” said Mgr Leo. “In a particular way, the catechism underscores that the use of any drug, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is also a ‘grave offense’ – for the use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life.”
After the Canadian government’s Cannabis Act received royal assent in the Senate on 21st June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced recreational use of marijuana would cease to be a crime as of 17th October. Canada is the second country in the world, following Uruguay, to legalise the drug nationwide.
Under the law, adults can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, cultivate up to four marijuana plants per household and can use cannabis to prepare edible products. It will be sold in regulated outlets.
Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, whose cathedral opens onto a view of Parliament Hill, is not “hailing” the legalisation, as are many others.
Picture: Smoke rises during the annual marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, on 20th April. Mgr Frank Leo, general secretary of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, says with the exception of cannabis use for medicinal purposes, consuming marijuana violates the virtue of temperance and should be avoided. (CNS photo/Chris Wattie, Reuters).