August 16, 2023


Big Attempt to Legalize Recreational Marijuana


There have been numerous bills introduced this session in an effort to legalize the recreational use of pot.  Here are some examples:

HB 1080 –   “will legalize adult use cannabis through the current state store system” and “would expunge low level cannabis convictions and permit individuals to grow up to six plants.”

HB 1082 – Anticipating the time when the recreational use of marijuana will be legalized in PA, these two state reps have introduced this bill that “will establish a permit for farmers and other small agricultural ventures to grow and sell adult-use cannabis to existing grower/processors on a limited basis. This bill would go into effect upon the legalization of adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania.”  Here’s one line that jumped out at me: “All Pennsylvanians would greatly benefit from having access to adult-use cannabis, regardless of medical need.”   I couldn’t disagree more!

HR 420 – is a resolution “which urges the federal government to remove cannabis from Schedule I” controlled substance list.

SB 846 –  was introduced by two state senators one Republican from Erie County and the other a Democrat from Philadelphia County.   Their reason:  “It is our duty to taxpayers to seize the initiative and legalize marijuana concurrently with bordering states. Failure to do so risks permanently ceding hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue. . . .”   Their co-sponsorship memo alleges:  “Adult use of marijuana is supported by two-thirds of Pennsylvanians and has majority support in rural, suburban, and urban legislative districts.”   The bill sets the age of purchase at 21, bans marketing directed at children, allows medical marijuana patients to grow their own pot, allows farmers and craft growers to grow pot and expunges all non-violent marijuana convictions.

SB 869 – introduced by the same two state senators who introduced SB 846, this bill would allow “medical marijuana patients to grow a limited number of cannabis plants from their home for personal use.”

The main reasons stated for legalizing pot are surrounding states have legalized it and PA needs the tax revenue.   Perhaps PA needs to be more fiscally responsible!  One major factor that is being ignored is that this is NOT the pot of the 60’s and 70’s, but is much more potent and dangerous.  Here are some facts:

  • Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, since then more than 25 percent of the ER visits involved symptoms related to marijuana use.
  • By 2015 marijuana use in Colorado was 55% above the national average among teens and young adults.
  • Since legalization in Colorado there has been an increase in all drug use, not just marijuana.
  • Dr. Karen Randall of Colorado says, “We’re the canary in the coal mine. Our kids are failing, our kids are using drugs more. I can’t find health care for them. I can’t find rehab, I can’t find places to put the kids in foster care.”
  • In November 2012 the voters of Washington State voted to legalize recreational marijuana, since then a AAA study looking at fatal car crashes found “10.0% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in Washington between 2010 and 2014— had detectable THC in their blood at the time of the crash.”
  • In the 1970s most marijuana contained less than two percent THC (THC—delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical in cannabis responsible for its psychoactive effects. Today, marijuana routinely contains 20 to 25 percent THC.
  • Yes, recreational pot is a gateway drug.  Research on individual users—a better way to trace cause and effect than looking at aggregate state-level data—consistently shows that marijuana use leads to other drug use.
  • A mountain of peer-reviewed research in top medical journals shows that marijuana can cause or worsen severe mental illness, especially psychosis.  Teenagers who smoke marijuana regularly are about three times as likely to develop schizophrenia.
  • In 2017 the National Academy of Medicine found “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”
  • Link between psychosis and violence:  The best analysis came in a 2009 paper in PLOS Medicine by Dr. Seena Fazel, an Oxford University psychiatrist and epidemiologist. Drawing on earlier studies, the paper found that people with schizophrenia are five times as likely to commit violent crimes as healthy people, and almost 20 times as likely to commit homicide.

As the AFA of PA warned when the push to legalize medical marijuana:  It will be used to get recreational pot legalized.  Even cannabis advocates, like Rob Kampia, the co-founder of the Marijuana Policy Project, acknowledge that they have always viewed medical marijuana laws primarily as a way to protect recreational users.

Action Steps

Tell your State Rep and State Senator “No, to recreational marijuana”.

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