The pope doesn't believe in legalizing drugs, but hundreds of churches say otherwise. The New England Conference of the United Methodist Church, a body comprising more than 600 congregations, passed a resolution during its annual meeting on June 18 to try to help alleviate the nation's drug issues by supporting "means other than prohibition," NBC News reports. The resolution, which Complex notes was put together in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition group, offers up a laundry list of reasons why the so-called "war on drugs" is detrimental to society, including violence that's taken innocent lives, overcrowded prisons, overdoses, disease from unsanitary needles—and, perhaps most of all, because of its significant impact on minority groups.
"To people of color, the 'War on Drugs' has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery," the resolution reads. Besides the more humanitarian reasons, the group offers economic backup as well. "Huge sums of our national treasury are wasted on this failed public policy," the resolution states. The mandate also lists Portugal and Switzerland as being examples of countries that have "dramatically reduced the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction" by attacking the drug issue through other means other than criminalization. But mainly, "it's a justice issue," says the pastor from Massachusetts' Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church who wrote the resolution. "Our drug war is creating more harm, more problems than it's solving, and I wanted people to be aware of that."