Nov. 02, 2023

HARRISBURG — The House Health Subcommittee on Health Care held a public hearing this week on legalizing cannabis for adult use.

Rep. Kathy L. Rapp (R-Warren/Crawford/Forest), Republican chair of the wider House Health Committee, issued this statement following the hearing:

“We heard from four experts testifying from different angles of this complex issue, but one statement from one of those experts really struck me. He asked whether we lawmakers can ensure that the health and safety of our children and young adults won’t be compromised if Pennsylvania legalizes recreational marijuana use. I do not believe we can.

“I think back to 2019, when my bill to ban nicotine products and vaping devices from schools became law. I wanted to ensure that our schools remained a safe place for our children to learn, free from exposure to these harmful products.

“Regretfully, my legislation stopped short of ensuring their safety. School districts across the Commonwealth complain that vaping on school grounds remains a problem. It’s for this reason that I cannot support marijuana legalization.

“Advocates keep telling me that legalizing cannabis will give the state the opportunity to regulate where it can be sold and at what age people can purchase it. Unfortunately, our rules and regulations won’t be enough to keep cannabis out of the hands of kids. You have to be 21 years old to buy nicotine products and vaping devices, yet our youth continue to be exposed.

“Aside from other pressing issues like mental health concerns, Cannabis Use Disorder and our lack of a test to determine whether someone is driving while high, I cannot support legislation that puts the children of the Commonwealth in harm’s way.”

Representative Kathy Rapp
65th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Jake Gillespie
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