PHOENIX - A group of Catholic bishops in Arizona have come out against Prop 207, the ballot measure that would legalize recreational marijuana in our state.
The bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference believe marijuana is harmful to children and families; they pointed to rising child fatality rates as another harmful factor.
The same bishops opposed a similar legalization measure in 2016, but argued that marijuana was a "gateway" drug.
“I think this is just fear-mongering," Chad Campbell said. He is the chairman for the Smart and Safe Arizona campaign, which is responsible for getting Prop 207 on the ballot.
Campbell says he’s not surprised about opposition from religious groups.
“To be expected with any campaign, but we have plenty of faith-based people, law enforcement that are on our side. So opposition is to be expected," he said.
The bishops cited problematic marijuana use being more prevalent for teens in states that legalized recreational marijuana, but Arizona State University Professor, Dr. Madeline Meier, says more research may be needed to make that claim.
“What I do think is clear is that when the law is passed in the states that have passed recreational laws, we see an increase in the number of people using in certain age groups -- not necessarily adolescents -- but among adolescents who are already using, we see an increase in cannabis use problems," Meier explained.
For more information on the prop, visit this link.