State Senator Mike Regan
As I began speaking about the legalization of adult marijuana, I got the expected question from constituents, friends and colleagues: As a former US Marshal, how could I support marijuana legalization? I achieved this position after careful study over the past several years, beginning with the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania in 2016 when I held a leadership role on the issue in the House of Representatives.
What medical marijuana has shown us is that there is a place for safe, regulated marijuana and that it brings benefits to its users.
Unfortunately, the long-standing ban on marijuana is the norm, as many of us are raised to “just say no.” This makes it difficult to change opinions and policies. However, my 23 years in law enforcement have not trained me to run away from difficult situations, but to run towards them. It is in my nature to investigate and find the truth and protect my fellow citizens.
This is what I have done and will continue to do in relation to the legalization of adult marijuana.
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One thing that has been clear for many years is that the ban and its enforcement have failed. Instead, there seems to be a general consensus to accept the status quo, which is unfathomable. Communities across the Commonwealweal have taken it upon themselves to decriminalize marijuana, which only fuels the illicit market and puts Pennsylvanians at risk when buying and using marijuana.
Additionally, an estimated $325 million per month flows out of Pennsylvania into the illicit market, funding violent cartels that are destroying our communities.
As a Commonwealth, do we agree with the status quo? Will we willingly continue to allow criminals to rake in $4 billion a year from our own family and friends for a product that will be sold to anyone, regardless of age, that is not safety tested, that is not taxed, and that isn’t is supervised?
Or will we, as the Commonwealth, recognize that it is time to stop funding violence and examine marijuana for what it could be – not what it is in the harmful form sold on the streets?
We have the opportunity to build on our current medical marijuana program, which has proven that marijuana can be responsibly grown and sold in Pennsylvania, and to provide the estimated 2 million+ Pennsylvanians who currently use marijuana with a safe product, that is not laced with dangerous drugs like fentanyl or PCP.
In the simplest sense, we have a choice between secure or insecure; tested or untested; age controlled or available to all; and tax revenue or criminal profits.
And that’s why I’ve come to my current belief that we need to legalize adult-use marijuana, aka cannabis, to protect our communities. The choice between the status quo and a regulated market is so obvious it’s hard to imagine who would disagree.
As it turns out, very few do.
A recent survey asked 1,500 Pennsylvanians from all corners of the Commonwealth a very simple question: Given what you now know about current illicit cannabis in Pennsylvania, do you think it is better to maintain the illicit market status quo or legalize it? , to regulate and to tax? non-medical use of cannabis by adults?
Over 90% agreed that legalizing, regulating and taxing adult cannabis was the logical way forward given the two real choices we have.
Ninety percent. In this day and age, that’s as close to consensus as we can get.
The same survey revealed the rapidly changing views of cannabis – now a widely accepted medical treatment in 45 states. It showed the expected generational shift, but also the changing understanding of cannabis, as the majority of respondents considered prescription drugs and alcohol to be far more dangerous than cannabis.
These results speak volumes, and it’s clear that it’s time to say goodbye to prohibition and the status quo and instead establish an adult marijuana policy that puts violent criminals out of control and protects Pennsylvanians from a depraved one Product protects while funding important initiatives to protect the health and safety of our communities.
– Senator Mike Regan represents Pennsylvania’s 31st Senate District, which covers parts of Cumberland and York counties.