From on high: Pope says no to legal pot

Pope Francis celebrates the Christ’s last supper after a procession from Saint John’s in Lateran Basilica to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome on June 19, 2014, to mark the Roman Catholic feast of Corpus Domini, commemorating Christ’s last supper and the institution of the Eucharist. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Francis may have hinted at a shake-up of centuries-old Church traditions but prospects of a liberal Vatican view on cannabis went up in smoke on Friday as he railed against legalising recreational drugs.

“Attempts, however limited, to legalise so-called ‘recreational drugs’, are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce the desired effects,” Francis told delegates at a drug enforcement conference in Rome.

The pope, who met with drug users on several occasions during his time as archbishop of Buenos Aires, said it was wrong that addicts were still allowed access to drugs.

“Let me state this in the clearest terms possible: the problem of drug use is not solved with drugs,” Francis said.

The pontiff was speaking a month after Uruguay legalised the production, distribution and sale of cannabis, allowing individuals to grow their own small stash and establishing consumer clubs.

In the United States, Colorado and Washington state have legalised pot for recreational use, while 21 states plus Washington DC allow marijuana to be prescribed for medical use.