More than 60 Illinois religious leaders want state lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana, saying their faith compels them to show mercy, the Chicago Tribune reports. "Jesus lived his life healing those where he could and bringing those to the absence of pain," said one minister. "This is entirely consistent with that." The state police oppose the clerics' stance, saying decriminalization would exacerbate drug use and complicate DUI enforcement.
“It is the job of religious leaders to give voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves," said a Methodist minister. Some in the religious community say they hope the debate over medical marijuana will lead to a broader discussion about drug abuse and law enforcement. "If it opens a debate to a larger discussion about criminalization and looking at other issues around drugs...I would be very much in favor," says another Protestant cleric.