HARRISBURG – A group of state lawmakers and leaders from medical and pro family groups were in Harrisburg to highlight the many harms of Gov. Josh Shapiro’s efforts to legalize recreational marijuana. Franklin County Rep. Rob Kauffman said the marijuana of today is much different than that of the past. Today’s marijuana is much more potent than before leading to greater addiction and problems later on if it’s allowed to be legalized.

“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 PA 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.

Judge Cheryl Allen, Of Counsel for Pennsylvania Family Institute, said “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.” Medical groups like the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Society for Addiction Medicine do not support legalization of recreational pot.