Recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in Pennsylvania. How long this ban will remain in effect is unclear, but the ultimate decision rests with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office, including whether the issue becomes an electoral issue.
Meanwhile, over 65% of Maryland voters who cast their ballots on Nov. 8 said they did “Yes indeed” Making Pennsylvania’s southern neighbor a state that legalizes marijuana not only for medical purposes but also in recreational settings.
New Pennsylvania Senator-elect John Fetterman actively sought the views of Keystone residents on the issue of legalization during his tenure as Commonwealth Lieutenant Governor. He traveled around the state to collect the opinions of residents, but these efforts were not followed by either legalization or outright rejection of the idea.
The bottom line is that Fetterman’s trips to gauge public sentiment have failed to bring recreational marijuana to the brink of passage and signing of the bill he supports due to opposition in the legislature.
Indeed, the presumed sentiment of the majority of Pennsylvania voters at this point, like that of the General Assembly, does not appear to favor changing the current recreational ban, but that could change, perhaps depending on how Maryland’s experience unfolds.
Still, Pennsylvania’s anti-legalists may have a powerful new argument on which to base their continued opposition to the legalization idea and solidify their stance. It’s a study that found higher rates of conditions like emphysema and airway inflammation in people who smoke marijuana than in non-smokers and people who only smoke tobacco.
However, it must be recognized that many more studies will be needed before the new finding is validated or debunked.
Mirror readers may recall that this newspaper has written against legalization of recreational marijuana in the past. Readers need to know that the Mirror has no intention of changing this stated position at this time.
The study, which claims negative effects of marijuana smoke, was the subject of an article in the Wall Street Journal Wednesday.
According to the article, nearly half of the 56 marijuana smokers whose chest scans were reviewed for the study had mucus congesting their airways, a condition that was less common in the other 90 study participants who did not smoke marijuana.
This finding contradicts the public perception that marijuana is safe — safer than tobacco, which poses many health risks to those who use it.
A statistic from the United States is relevant to the study, which originated in Ottawa, Canada. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s National Survey of Drug Use and Health found that about 18% of Americans reported using marijuana at least once in 2020, including about one in three young adults ages 18 to 25 years.
“Previous studies have found that marijuana is more likely to be smoked unfiltered than tobacco and that smokers tend to inhale more smoke and hold it in their lungs longer.” the article says. “Bong smoke contains tiny contaminants that can linger indoors for up to 12 hours,” the article continues.
It will likely be difficult to persuade proponents of marijuana legalization that they need to care about what they advocate, but they should at least pay attention in the future.
The Ottawa study makes this clear “blind” Support is not in their best interests now.
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