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For one Roman Catholic bishop in Rhode Island, marijuana's fast track to legalization in a growing number of states is nothing to celebrate. Bishop Thomas Tobin, who readily admits he's never actually partaken in weed-related activities, unleashed his thoughts on the state's diocesan website Tuesday.
"The nuances of moral theology aside, the teaching of the Church on the recreational use of drugs is pretty clear," Tobin wrote, his text ironically presented against a green background. For Tobin, who left the Democratic Party to become a Republican in 2013, it’s a matter of preventing would-be zombies.
Tobin recounted a conversation he recently had with a "prominent businessman" who visited Colorado, one of an increasing number of states in which weed is legal for recreational use. This man found the local vibes "disturbing," even remarking to Tobin that he frequently encountered "zombie-like individuals" in public places.
But Tobin isn't only concerned with stoned AF zombies traipsing through a state in which he doesn't even reside. He's also watching out for the Cathedral. "We just had an incident in Providence that exemplifies the concern," Tobin wrote. "An individual was found smoking pot…in the back of our Cathedral…during the 10:00 Mass."
Tobin ratted out this next-level worshipper to the police, summarizing the encounter with this cute little slogan: "If I'm going to smell anything in our Cathedral I want it to be holy incense, not cannabis." Ruthless.
Though Tobin and others are fighting like hell to prevent Rhode Island from making the leap from medical to recreational privileges, marijuana experts across the country are sending a noticeably zombie-free message to lawmakers. "The thing we're going to watch over the future is whether or not normalization of marijuana usage and perception of harm goes down and whether that's going to have an impact long-term with youth," Andrew Freedman, Director of Marijuana Coordination in Colorado, told Rhode Island Public Radio in March.
Freedman, who's been discussing a variety of future plans for legalization with Rhode Island lawmakers, also made an appeal to citizens' common sense. "It's generally people who were using marijuana in the unregulated system who'll be the opening people who use it in the regulated system," Freedman said. "So don't expect to see Rhode Island to look massively different the day after legalization than it did the day before."
Now if only there was a way these two seemingly incompatible worlds, weed and religion, could beautifully collide. The following is perhaps a beacon of hope for all those who insist the two could never possibly coexist: