By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Gov. Tom Wolf sparked a statewide debate last month when he tweeted that “it is time for Pennsylvania to take a serious and honest look at recreational marijuana.” Republican leaders in the Legislature quickly responded, calling the idea “reckless and irresponsible.”
While it currently appears that legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania is a very long shot, I still want to hear from you about such a proposal. Call my district office in Hazleton at (570) 453-1344 to express your opinion or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s what I think. Before we advance a discussion on recreational marijuana, we first have to examine the benefits to our communities and to the Commonwealth.
If we are looking to recreational marijuana as a generator of tax revenue, then we need to ask what state model has been successful in that regard. In California, for example, taxes are so high that people turn to illegal, black market marijuana and revenue is not what was projected.
We also should ask ourselves if legalizing marijuana sends the right public health message to young people while we are in the middle of an opioid crisis. I don’t think that it does.
Other states that have legalized marijuana have many regrets. They suffer from increased DUI cases and employers complain about the lack of a sober and diligent workforce.
That said, I’m willing to listen to the other side of the debate and am open to the input from all constituents of the 116th Legislative District. I look forward to hearing from you on this important issue.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office