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Cardinal pledges $850,000 to oppose ballot Question 4

Cardinal O'Malley speaks to an interfaith gathering of over 40 religious leaders Oct. 18 on his opposition to Ballot Question 4. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

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BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese of Boston has pledged $850,000 to a campaign aimed at opposing Massachusetts ballot Question 4, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state.

"The contribution is a reflection of how seriously we consider this issue, understanding that, if passed, this proposed law would have a significant detrimental impact on our parishes and our social outreach and support ministries," said Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley in his blog, Oct. 28.

If Question 4 were to pass, it would not only allow individuals to legally possess, smoke, and grow limited quantities of marijuana in Massachusetts, but it would also invite the commercialization of the drug.

Archdiocesan spokesperson Terrence Donilon said the funds are going towards the Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, which, according to its website, "is a growing coalition of families, workers, businesses, health care and community leaders, anti-addiction advocates, educators, and first responders who are opposing the legalization of the commercial marijuana industry in Massachusetts."

Among those in opposition to Question 4 are Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, as well as all of the district attorneys and sheriffs in the state.

This issue is particularly important to Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, Donilon said, as he has seen "firsthand" the effects marijuana has on society.

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