The Data are CLEAR: Drugs Aren’t Social Justice, Won’t Bring Tax Revenue

HARRISBURG, PA) – Smart Approaches to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) President Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug policy advisor to Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton, released the following statement today in response to Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro’s budget, which proposes opening the state to full-scale commercial sales of THC drugs and marijuana: 

“Governor Shapiro has apparently bought the marijuana industry’s lies and misinformation hook, line and sinker. He’s ignoring the science and the data from states that have legalized THC. More drugs won’t bring social justice, or tax revenue. They will mean adding to the mental health crisis, more youth use, and more drugged driving for Pennsylvanians. Any notion that Pennsylvania will be immune to the damaging effects of this industry is just nonsense.

“The Big Marijuana fairy tale actually ends up with the vast majority of pot shops clustered in communities of color. Products will be increasingly high-potency including candies, drinks, vape oils and more that will be 6-times as potent as regular marijuana. Addiction will skyrocket as the push for profits make products more dangerous and hooks a new generation of users. This supposedly harmless drug turns into a nightmare of mental health for countless users as they suffer IQ loss, depression, suicidality, psychosis, and schizophrenia.

“Governor Shapiro probably also read the part of the industry playbook that says more drugs will be a boon for taxpayers. While wealthy, white Wall Street investors will bank billions off the backs of minority communities and young people, the illicit market will flourish, just as it has in every other state that’s experimented with commercial THC drugs. No state that has legalized has come out on top financially. What revenue the state will receive will unquestionably be outweighed by the social, health care and law enforcement costs associated with protecting public safety treating a growing population of drug users.

“Big Marijuana preys on the most vulnerable among us. Governor Shapiro and state legislators should know better. SAM Action is prepared to stand with allies in law enforcement, medical professionals, the manufacturing industry, parents, educators and those on the front lines of our nation’s addiction crisis to defeat this dangerous proposal.”