Pope Francis
Pope Francis Reuters

Pope Francis came out against the legalization of marijuana Friday, telling a drug-enforcement conference in Rome that the idea is not just “highly questionable from a legislative standpoint,” but legalization efforts also “fail to produce the desired effects,” the Associated Press reported.

Francis’ comments come as the debate on whether to legalize marijuana intensifies around the world, including the United States, where recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado and Washington. Oregon may be the next state to make a similar move in November if voters approve a legalization measure.

The 77-year-old head of the Roman Catholic Church warned against legalization in part because it would harm addicts, saying legalization is “rather a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon,” according to the AP.

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

Before he became pope, then-Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio worked with addicts in Argentina. He also decried the “evil” of drug addiction.