Marijuana Legalization for Retail Recreational Sales Would Harm More Families and Damage More Communities

Mar 20, 2024 | 0 comments

Capitol press conference highlights various costs of non-medical legalization (recreational use) – full video below.

(HARRISBURG, PA – March 20, 2024) Today, a group of state lawmakers and coalition leaders held a press conference to highlight the many harms of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s agenda on marijuana, which is to legalize high-potency THC for retail recreational sale in Pennsylvania. 

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“The manufactured, dangerously-high potency THC marijuana pushed in a retail recreational use market has caused damaging social costs and negative consequences in states experimenting with legalization,” stated Dan Bartkowiak, Director of Communications with Pennsylvania Family Institute. “Legalization would create more addiction, more children using, and more pot shops than Starbucks and McDonalds combined throughout our state. That’s not what we should allow to happen here in Pennsylvania.”

Evidence shows youth use and addiction rates increase in states that commercialize the recreational use of marijuana. In a 2023 study, researchers at Temple University found, “following recreational legalization: adolescent and young adult past-month cannabis use prevalence increased.”

In states like Colorado, there are more pot shops than Starbucks and McDonalds combined. That saturation has led to various harms, as one study found for every dollar gained in tax revenue, Coloradans spent $4.50 to mitigate the negative effects of legalization.

“The purposes of government include: to establish laws, maintain order and provide security, protect citizens from external threats, and promote the general welfare by providing public services. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use will not serve any of these purposes.” – Judge Cheryl Allen, Of Counsel for Pennsylvania Family Institute, at today’s press conference.

Every major health association is opposed to state legalization of retail marijuana for recreational use: 

Additional groups opposed to marijuana legalization for recreational use include:

  • American Automotive Association (AAA) “opposes legalization of recreational cannabis due to an expected increase in cannabis-involved traffic fatalities.”
  • Caron Treatment Centers: “If we continue towards the path of full legalization, we need to prepare ourselves to deal with the increase in problem usage. Far better would be to prevent the problems in the first place.” Dr. Adam Scioli, Medical Director and Head of Psychiatry
  • Commonwealth Prevention Alliance: “Legalizing and introducing recreational marijuana are counterintuitive to the health and safety of PA communities.” Jeff Hanley, Executive Director
  • Lancaster Newspapers Editorial Board:  “Legalizing marijuana isn’t the answer…there has to be a better way.”
  • Pennsylvania Fraternal Order of Police: “Marijuana is a dangerous drug that poses a real threat to public safety and public health.”
  • Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association: “Marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania will pose significant challenges for law enforcement as a result of the unanticipated consequences it has on crime and public safety.” Scott Bohn, Executive Director
  • Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association: “Our opposition stems from science, research and data, as well as information from our drug addiction specialists.” John Adams, Berks County District Attorney
  • Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association: “Mass-commercialization of recreational marijuana would be a major setback.” David Taylor, President & CEO

Speakers at today’s press conference included State Rep. Paul Schemel (R – Franklin County), State Rep. Rob Kauffman (R – Franklin County), State Rep. Tim Twardzik (R – Schuylkill County), David Taylor (PA Manufacturers Association), Judge Cheryl Allen (PA Family Institute), Matt Weaver (Compass Mark), Detective Tony Marcocci (Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office), and Judy Rosser (Drug and Alcohol Prevention Advocate, Blair County).