Do you know where your candidates stand on the issue of marijuana legalization? Find out at

By: Dan Bartkowiak

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “listening to the scientists” and top Democrat politicians in Pennsylvania accusing the Trump Administration of rejecting science, despite themselves rejecting the science behind marijuana by supporting the full commercial sale of this drug – something science screams they should oppose.

Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement last month saying President Trump “continues to ignore science” regarding COVID-19. Wolf self-proclaims his adherence to science, with one example being a press release highlighting the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – an organization of 67,000+ pediatricians – for their support of one of his COVID-19 mandates.

The AAP opposes the legalization of marijuana “because of the potential harms to children and adolescents.” So why is Governor Wolf waving a marijuana flag in support of legalization instead of listening to the science?

Perhaps it’s because Lt. Governor John Fetterman and his obsession with marijuana has clouded Wolf’s understanding. There’s no hiding how marijuana is Fetterman’s top issue, as he claims there’s “no legitimate concerns” with full legalization. 

What’s interesting is Fetterman appears to claim that opposition to legalization by both the AAP and the American Medical Association (AMA) – the largest association of physicians – is just “some Reefer Madness.”

Ironically, earlier this year, Fetterman praised the AMA for supporting one of Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 state declarations. The AMA is opposed to the legalization of marijuana, finding it “is a dangerous drug and as such is a serious public health concern.” If you trusted them before, why are you not trusting them on marijuana?

Let’s even go beyond Wolf and Fetterman to show they’re not the only Pennsylvania  politicians cherry-picking science. In March 2020, State Representative Mary Jo Daley (D-Montgomery), called for a postponement of a committee hearing (unrelated to marijuana policy) due to several speakers being unable to attend due to COVID-19 concerns. Daley wanted to make sure light was shed by “mainstream medical experts” and she specifically named four groups: the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the Endocrine Society.

Let’s apply Daley’s desire to align with “mainstream medical experts” to marijuana. I’ve already shared how the AAP and AMA are opposed to marijuana legalization (As AMA President Dr. Patrice A. Harris puts it, “The AMA has urged legislatures to delay legalizing cannabis until further research is completed on the public health, medical, economic, and social consequences of its use.”)

The American Psychological Association highlights several concerns with marijuana use, from risk to brain development in teens and young adults to the current research gap resulting in a lack of current understanding of the full effects of marijuana use. 

Finally, the Endocrine Society presented a study this year that suggests marijuana may impair fertility. “Female eggs exposed to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, have an impaired ability to produce viable embryos, and are significantly less likely to result in a viable pregnancy.”

Hearing from these “mainstream medical experts” should make you pause and question why anyone is rushing to support the full legalization of marijuana. Yet, sadly, Representative Daley – who claims her political opponents are rejecting science – is a co-sponsor of legislation that would fully legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. Because…science?

The next time you hear a politician claim they listen to science, ask them about their position on marijuana. The science is clear that there are significant health risks, that there still are many unknowns still in need of more research and that there should be caution in the pursuit of any commercial sale of today’s highly-potent marijuana found often in forms like flavored vaping oils and edibles that appeal to children. 

The independent gold-standard for evidence-based research, National Academies of Sciences, found substantial evidence of today’s marijuana use linked to problems such as increased risks of motor vehicle accidents, low birth weight, worse respiratory issues and the development of mental illnesses like schizophrenia and psychosis.

More about these health risks can be found at

If you claim to live by science, then act like it. Governor Wolf should be opposed to the push for full marijuana legalization. Let’s not say we believe science only when it matches up with our preferred political position.

Dan Bartkowiak is the director of communications for Pennsylvania Family Council (