FOP, Chiefs of Police Oppose Policy Efforts to Commercialize Marijuana for Recreational Use

Feb 3, 2022 | 0 comments

PA Senate to Hold Hearing on Marijuana Focused on Law Enforcement, Harmful Legalization for Recreational Use Raises Risks for Public Health and Safety 

PA State Senator Mike Regan (R-Cumberland) has scheduled a public hearing for Monday, February 7th in the Senate Law and Justice Committee to discuss the Senator’s upcoming (and harmful) legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. The hearing will focus primarily on law enforcement, who ironically are collectively opposed to the commercialized sale of marijuana for recreational use.

Pennsylvania’s police recognize the harms of marijuana use and the dangers full legalization would bring:

  • “The Pennsylvania State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police believes that marijuana is a dangerous drug that poses a real threat to public safety and public health and strongly opposes any efforts of legalization at the state or local level.”
  • Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association: “Marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania will pose significant challenges for law enforcement resulting from the unanticipated consequences it has on crime and public safety.” 

Sen. Mike Regan claims his legislation, which has yet to be formally introduced despite it’s announcement over four months ago, will “defund the deadly drug cartels” but in states that have fully legalized marijuana the illegal market is anything but dying off; if anything, it’s only getting stronger. 

  • Fraternal Order of Police: “States which have elected to disregard the Federal prohibition on this drug have not been able to mitigate the black market in their own jurisdictions or prevent trafficking into and from other States.”
  • “Are the illegal suppliers of the kids and adults — supplying cheaper and possibly unsafe products — going out of business with legalization? If this was true, the 18 legalized states would have no illegal weed in their towns. Do you think this is the case?” Sheriff Brian Zeybel (Warren County)

Public Safety: Impaired Driving Increases with Legalization

The National Academies of Sciences (NAS), the gold standard of independent, nonpartisan, evidence‐based research, found substantial evidence of a statistical association between recent cannabis use and an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes. One study (American Journal of Public Health) found that between 2000 and 2018 the percentage of traffic deaths in the United States involving marijuana doubled. Another recent study (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) found a rise in marijuana-impaired crashes in states that legalized marijuana for recreational use.

  • There is no valid impairment standard for marijuana or any other drug equivalent to the 0.08% limit for alcohol. Exacerbating the problem is the matter of how to best create, implement and enforce the laws prohibiting impaired driving. This is particularly concerning in populous areas, where the risk of catastrophic consequences related to a drug impaired driving incident is exponentially greater. The percentages of traffic deaths related to the use of recreational marijuana doubled in Washington state in the year retail marijuana sales were allowed. In Colorado, marijuana is involved in more than one of every five deaths on the road. These statistics highlight why it is necessary to wait until we have a better understanding of the impacts and management of marijuana intoxication.” Scott Bohn, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association
  • AAA opposes the legalization of marijuana for recreational use because of its inherent traffic safety risks and because of the difficulties in writing legislation that protects the public and treats drivers fairly.”
  • “Numerous studies have demonstrated that marijuana significantly impairs many of the skills needed for safe driving, including judgment, motor coordination and reaction time. Studies conducted in a laboratory setting have also found a direct relationship between the concentration of THC in the blood and impaired driving ability,” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse

Public Health: Full Legalization Harms More Children and Families

The commercialized sale of marijuana for recreational use results in dangerously high potent marijuana products being marketed with youth-appealing advertising and for heavy usage. Manufacturers are creating unnatural products with up to 99% THC in a variety of forms like concentrates that can have significant health risks.

  • “My experience as a former local police officer has shown that legalizing marijuana will increase teen use and lead to more medical emergencies, including traffic deaths if motorists are driving while high. The amount of revenue generated from legalization falls far short of the cost in increased hospital visits, addiction treatment, environmental damage, crime, workplace accidents and lost productivity.” State Representative Jerry Knowles (R-Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill)
  • “All Officers of Conewango Township are against legalizing marijuana and I know this because I asked each and every one of them. The future is scary enough for my son and your children and legalizing marijuana will not make it better. Do your own research and see how communities that have legalized marijuana are doing.” Conewango Township Police Chief Jason Peters
  • “Potency represents a sea change in how ‘safe’ marijuana is to use. As a result of the increase in potency of marijuana, we’re seeing a lot more mental health issues surfacing.” Kate Appleman, Caron Treatment Center
  • “Today’s high-potency marijuana causes higher rates of suicide and mental illness when used recreationally and illegally under 21 years old.” Laura Stack, whose son took his own life in 2019 after becoming psychotic due to addiction to highly concentrated marijuana.


For more on the harms with the commercialized sale of marijuana for recreational use, visit