Morality of legal drug use


Hi everyone,
I wanted to ask a question: In light of Colorado now legally allowing recreational marijuana use, I wanted to know what the moral implications of partaking in this or other “legal drugs” is from the Catholic prospective. Obviously the Church doesn’t have a problem with moderate alcohol use (provided a user does not drink themselves to such a point that they no longer possess use of their reason and do not engage in any dangerous or disordered activity while under the influence, like driving), but my understanding had been that using MJ or other illegal substances was sinful because to do so needlessly breaks the law. So can Catholics in Colorado now light up without incurring any legal or moral guilt? What about the fact that MJ is legal in the state but still illegal under American federal law?


***Disclaimer: I do not live in Colorado or Washington, and am not condoning or recommending the use of any substance to "get high"or advocating violating any federal or state laws. This is just a theoretical question about moral theology with real religious implications for Catholics in the United States.


It seems to me that Moral Law is universal and cannot be changed by any local Civil Law.

For example: Above a certain age, it is legal to engage in pre-martial sex, but it is immoral.

Just because we can does not mean that we should.


So then is there a Moral Law reason why recreational MJ use is wrong apart from the immorality of breaking civil law?


Alcohol destroys more families and harms the liver more than most other recreational substance. Alcohol should be outlawed and listed as morally wrong. Guess what will freeze over before that happens!

Pain pills, anti depressants, etc. Should I take them? They are legal.

If it is legal it is not morally wrong.


2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.

2291 The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to the moral law.

“If it is legal it is not morally wrong” JOKING RIGHT? Abortion?


So then I guess it comes down to what exactly constitutes a drug.


I am neither an MJ nor an ML expert. So my views are mine, not a requirement.

As a Catholic, I am called to do God’s Will on earth as it is heaven. (The Lord’s Prayer) I am pretty sure there are former drug addicts, potheads, and alcoholics in heaven but I am equally sure that they no longer partake in those behaviors. So, if it is not God’s Will we use such stuff in heaven, how can we say God thinks it OK to do on earth?

Why am I so sure? Well, JC is indeed the Living Son of God and JC established HIS Church to guide us in His Ways. JC’s first miracle was to change water into wine to celebrate a wedding. JC also changed wine into His Blood at the Last Supper and gave the Apostles that power so we could receive JC in Holy Eucharist. I know of no Church teaching that asserts it is Morally acceptable to use drugs.

In this secular world we live among many who reject JC or at least try to keep Him in the background. They give little concern for living a life JC would have us live. They think that as long as it is Legal, it must be Morally acceptable too. Moral Law calls us to a higher standard than just legal law. Hitler and Stalin had laws too. And my example earlier still stands.

To me, it is also not sound reasoning to say, “Well, something else is allowed, so this should be allowed too.”

Also, to me, legal laws require enforcement. When too many break the law, enforcement cost go out of sight. So often, laws are relaxed. Such laws should not be taken as setting a new higher standard for HONORABLE behavior.

And it seems to me that HONORABLE behavior does comply with Moral Law.


That leaves us with a major conundrum in celebrating Mass, doesn’t it?

Your personal opinion is worth exactly what you were paid for it. Many people enjoy and have enjoyed alcohol responsibly for centuries. If alcohols’ only purpose was to get drunk, then you would (perhaps) have a point. Drugs, on the other hand, are used for exactly one thing and the catechism addresses such uses.

By your convoluted logic, then, abortion is not morally wrong because it is legal. Why don’t we just make everything legal and then no one would ever do any wrong and we would live in a perfect world?!?!? :rolleyes:


I have no problem with the idea of people using “MJ” myself and think it should have been legalized a long time ago, as it takes the street dealers out of the picture and is a way to provide safer supplies for those that will use it. However, I am not going to use it anymore than I would choose to smoke or drink because I think it is bad for your health. There are medicinal reasons to use Pot and that is a different thing all together.

As one poster indicated, just because it is legal does not mean we should do it. In my thinking we should all try to avoid doing things that are dangerous to our health, lungs, hearts, minds. If something is shown to be very harmful I think there is some sin involved in using it, but I could not suggest to what degree.

I guess my point is: why would you want to use this drug? In general I simply don’t understand this thing of people wanting to get buzzed or high. Anything that is going to mess with my brain cells is something I want nothing to do with. In my case, I would consider the use of this drug a sin if I used it, so I won’t.


Joking? Kind of. People use MJ in many different forms for many different reasons; to throw a blanket of sin over it is wrong.

Moderation in all we do is called for. Otherwise we should ban food as fat people have many more health problems. Ration food, one meal a day is sufficient for life.


Here is a good answer:



That is NOT correct.

Homosexuality is legal but it is NOT moral.
Abortion is legal but it is NOT moral.
Contraception is legal but it is NOT moral.

Being made legal does not make something moral!


You are correct. Moderation is the key. Don’t think there are not people out there figuring out how to ration food to the fat folks. Now here is a real life situation:

My sister is overweight, but she is starving too death. Due to her Crohns Disease her intestines can only absorb sugar and fat. She gets no other value from her foods. Over the years her body has learned to store all the sugar she eats as fat. Then when she is in an attack her body uses it up until she appears starved and her skin starts to peel off due to the lack of proteins. The other thing that makes her “fat” is the high doses of steroids needed to keep her intestines open enough to allow water to pass through.

Currently all she can eat is soft white bread, white pasta, soft boiled meat like fish and chicken, and rice. No fruits or veggies. She can drink water and Kool-aid with sugar. That is it, but to look at her you would think she ate full blown pig-out meals everyday.

My point: people are too quick to judge others for a number of problems and being fat is just one example. If my sister could benefit from having pot to smoke or eat I will go get it for her and I could care less if anyone thought it was immoral.


I agree about alcohol, and at one time, they did have the common sense to make it illegal, but found it did not work and prohibition did not last long, I find it strange that the same Govt keeps the drug prohibition going, I guess they did not learn their lesson from prohibition LOL

Problem is, they make too much money from alcohol, all the fine money they get from the the 10s of 1000s of DUIs each year, all the sin taxes from its sale, so they are never going to get rid of that stream, but its definitely not about public health and safety, as they claim, or else it and tobacco would be illegal right now.

Marijuana is also a plant that God put here for people to use, what right does ANYONE have to tell someone what they can and cannot put into their own body? It is absolutely ridiculous the DEA and other law enforcement agencies go to the effort they do, just to stop people from using something natural for their own use LOL. Why should they even care about this?

Plus, when someone creates a new type of substance that people use, law enforcement rush to get it made illegal, so they can go after it…LOL this is almost comical! Its like their on some kind of personal vendetta!!


This is the most asinine argument of all. God also made the hot blonde next door; does that mean its ok to carry on a extramarital affair with her?


MJ has been altered by humans to select for ever higher amounts of THC (the component that causes the high people feel). We changed it into something else. I would say it is immoral to take anything that is mind altering unless prescribed by a physician for a real condition. And I am not talking about the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” condition that some doctors write MJ prescriptions for in California.


You are right about the DEA. This is part of the reason Reagan’s “War on Drugs” has been such a miserable failure. It’s about the money and job security. If drugs are decriminalized imagine all the money that could be used to capture rapists, murderers, serial killers. Imagine all the man power that could be freed up.

In countries where drugs have been decriminalized the use stays at about 3% (it does not go up or down, but stays the same) and crimes of robbery, assault and murder drop off drastically. When people can get the drugs at a pharmacy they don’t have to meet up in dark allies or other questionable locations to get it. It is also safer in terms of not being laced with toxins.

I am not a drug user, but I don’t think what we have been doing has accomplished a thing. Maybe decriminalizing it would be better. This way there is a better chance of counseling people to go into re-hab.


Think it like alcohol, even if its usage is allowed, getting drunk is a mortal sin. marihuana and other drugs have benefits which we can use without getting high, so in that case (being legal) it becomes not an if you use it, but more about how you use it.

now about alcohol, being outlawed, just remember that Jesus Christ made wine in a party, and that at Mass the wine becomes the Blood of Christ. the problem is not the alcohol, but the abuse of it.


Are you trying to tell us that rapists, murderers and serial killers are running free because the finances of the illegality of drugs prohibits their arrests? :rolleyes:


What I am saying is the “War on Drugs” has been and continues to be a miserable failure, and therefor a waste of money, time and manpower. These funds, the time and manpower could be redirected to solve other crimes, as well as prevent other crimes.

The other weekend my car was ransacked. Nothing was taken but some lose change. There were no officers available to take a report as only 15 were on duty for the entire district I live in. They used to have around 36 on the weekends. I landed up doing my own report on-line.

The thing is there could be more officers on patrol in the neighborhoods and they might stop some of the following crimes we experienced in our area just two weeks prior to Christmas: Vandalized cars and cars torched, a shooting, a case of arson at an apartment building.

When I was a kid you could depend on seeking the cops patrolling the community. Now all you see is speed traps and police arrival after a crime has been committed. There just seems to be more efficient things do with the money and time being spent in “War on Drugs.” The use has only gone up, as has the crime, since the inception of this program. Time for something different and more effective.

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