Bishops’ Statement on Ballot Question 4
October 17, 2016
Dear Catholic educators, catechists and families,
As Americans we are called upon to actively participate in our democratic process through the exercising of our right to vote. With the November 8 Election Day now fast approaching there are indeed many candidates and issues competing for our attention. I am writing you today regarding one issue which will be placed before voters, a matter of great importance for our young people and families.
On Election Day Massachusetts citizens will be asked to vote on a proposal to legalize recreational use of marijuana, listed on Question 4. If approved, this referendum could have an extremely devastating and dangerous impact on our society, particularly children and young adults.
As our society battles the devastating opioid crisis, which every day claims the lives of those who have been snared in the trap of addiction, it is beyond reason that we should legalize a gateway drug that, in addition to its own damaging effects, has led far too many users down the escalating path of drug abuse and the destruction of opioids.
I am providing you a statement from the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, issued in response to Question 4, one which provides facts and citations from numerous research studies concerning the detrimental effects that follow from the legalization of marijuana. These concerns are shared by many law enforcement, public safety and community leaders including Governor Baker and Attorney General Healy.
I urge you to carefully read and share this statement.
Thank you for your consideration and thoughtful review of this issue and for your dedication, commitment and genuine care for our young people.
(Most Rev.) Mitchell T. Rozanski
Bishop of Springfield