CCAP just says no to further marijuana legalization

By Randy Bartley

Staff Writer

CLARION

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania has taken a firm stand against any further legalization of marijuana at this time.

CCAP, an organization to which the board of Clarion County Commissioners belongs, believes "any efforts by the commonwealth to change laws to further legalize use of marijuana are premature at least until the federal government removes marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs."

While use of medical marijuana is now legal under Pennsylvania law, marijuana remains on the federal Drug Enforcement Agency's list of scheduled drugs as a Schedule I substance, meaning it remains illegal under federal law.

"As counties have discovered, this means the most challenging aspect of the state's medical marijuana law has been the lack of clear guidance due to the disconnect between state and federal law as it applies to workplace policies, insurance programs, program requirements and funding eligibility of federally funded programs, and prosecution of those using medical marijuana," stated the CCAP resolution. "This disconnect must be resolved with policy and statutory clarity before the state undertakes any efforts to further legalize use of marijuana, including recreational use."

The association believes that if state legislation moves forward to further legalize marijuana, "counties must be brought to the table as part of those discussions to address the local impacts, costs and benefits."

The impact includes commercialization, environmental and land use impacts, behavioral health and other human services impacts, workplace and employee policies, ability of local governments to regulate the growing, dispensing and use of marijuana, social justice impacts, and impacts to the court and correctional systems, as well as reimbursement of costs to counties.

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman led a series of town hall discussions on the legalization of recreational marijuana recently.

"In light of recent public discussion and debate over legalization of recreational marijuana, CCAP policy committees have been reviewing the matter to assure the association is prepared for any future legislative discussion or movement in this direction," said CCAP.