Illinois Catholic Bishops oppose marijuana legalization

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Illinois’ Roman Catholic bishops have taken a stand against legalizing recreational use of marijuana.

The six bishops issued a statement Monday that they oppose legalization because they are “committed to the common good.”

Illinois lawmakers are poised to push legislation to permit recreational cannabis use . Gov. J.B. Pritzker campaigned on the issue.

The bishops say legalization will only add to the country’s crisis with illicit drugs and prescription opioids. They point to peer-reviewed research that indicates marijuana is addictive and studies that show addicts started with alcohol and marijuana.

They dispute advocates’ claims that legalization will eliminate the black market. They say it’s possible the underground will simply sell it more cheaply and to minors.

Pritzker believes taxes on cannabis sales could produce up to $1 billion a year.