CPA is a member-driven, grassroots organization whose mission is to support prevention professionals in eliminating substance abuse. We are a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization.

Since 1976, CPA has kept the needs and concerns of the prevention professional and the field of substance abuse prevention as its key focus, and today it continues to be the foremost voice for prevention in Pennsylvania.

CPA, keeping in line with above stated mission and vision is against the legalization of recreational marijuana in PA.This stance is in support of the youth and next generation of residents.   As an organization whose founding principles are on drug use prevention, it is clear that legalization of marijuana reduces harm perception, increases accessibility and presents a clear and present danger to the youth of the Commonwealth. 

Facts that support CPA’s stance against legalization of recreational marijuana

By legalizing marijuana, the United States would be ushering in a new, for-profit industry – not different from Big Tobacco.  Already, private holding groups and financiers have raised millions of start-up dollars to promote businesses that will sell marijuana and marijuana-related merchandise.

Dr. Nora Volkow, director at the National Institute on Drug Abuse: “When you legalize [drugs], you create an industry whose purpose is to make money selling those drugs.”

State laws regarding marijuana use are in direct contradiction to Federal laws!  States have permitted this industry to flourish, influencing both policies and policy makers while the full benefits and/or consequences of these policies will not be known for decades.   Early indicators are troubling - National Marijuana Initiative video report -


“Marijuana” food and candy is being marketed to children and is already responsible for a growing number of marijuana-related ER visits.[x]  Edibles with names such as “Ring Pots” and “Pot Tarts” are inspired by favorite candies of children and dessert products such as “Ring Pops” and “Pop Tarts.” Moreover, a large vaporization industry is now emerging and targeting youth, allowing young people and minors to use marijuana more easily in public places without being detected.[xx]


  1. 1 out of 6 young people who start using marijuana in adolescence become addicted.
  2. Marijuana is addictive according to research. Risk in using other illicit drugs also increases with use.
  3. Between 2011 and 2016, current use rates for Marijuana were higher than the national average in all age groups in Alaska, Colorado, District of Columbia, Oregon, and Washington. Non-Marijuana states had use rates at or below the national average.


  1. Federal and state alcohol taxes raise $14.5 billion, covering only about 6% of alcohol’s total cost to society.
  2. Federal and state tobacco taxes raise $25 billion, covering only about 13% of tobacco’s total cost to society.
  3. The total overall cost of substance abuse in the U.S. including productivity, health and crime related costs exceeds, $600 billion annually. ($181 billion for illicit drugs)
  4. With increased use, public health costs will also rise!Likely outweighing any tax revenues from legal marijuana.  For every dollar gained in alcohol and tobacco taxes, TEN dollars are lost in legal, health, social, and regulatory costs (xxx)



  1. The Veteran’s Administration does not support marijuana in PTSD treatment due to the lack of evidence-based research of effectiveness.
  2. AMA Policy Statement on Cannabis H-95.998

Our AMA believes that (1) cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern; (2) sale of cannabis should not be legalized; (3) public health-based strategies, rather than incarceration, should be utilized in the handling of individuals possessing cannabis for personal use; and (4) additional research should be encouraged. (BOT Rep. K, I-69; Reaffirmed: CLRPD Rep. C, A-89; Reaffirmed: Sunset Report, A-00; Reaffirmed: CSAPH Rep. 1, A-10; Reaffirmed in lieu of Res. 202, I-12; Modified: CSAPH Rep. 2, I-13)



To date, 29 states, The District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have legalized marijuana for medical and or recreational use.  There is NO accepted model of regulation that is consistent in all areas.  States are dealing with a wide variety of policy questions and problems post legalization.


PA Current Marijuana laws:

Act 16 of 2016 at

                        PA legislative votes for Act 16:



Smart Approaches to Marijuana at


National Marijuana Initiative at


  1. National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2011. Topics in Brief: Marijuana. Available: http://www.drugabuse.gove/publications/topics-in-brief/marijuan
  2. Volkow, Baler, Compton and Weiss; Adverse Health Effects of Marijuana Use, New England Journal of Medicine 2014:370;2219-27 (June 2014)
  3.     Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Survey on Drug   Use and Health (NSDUH) data, 2011-2016, marijuana use in past 30 days, Age Groups 12-17, 18-25, and 26 years and older, by specific states
  4. Dupont, Robert M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (1973-1978), “Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana.” April 2010 Available: should NOT Legalize Marijuana
  5. lbid
  6. Office of National Drug Control Policy. The Economic Costs of Drug Abuse in the United States, Executive Office of the President (Publication No. 207303). 2004. Available at costs.pdf
  7. Boon-Miller and Rousseau; Marijuana Use and PTSD among Veterans Source: Department of Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD (Boon-Miller and Rousseau – May 2017)
  8. [x]Updating estimates of the economic costs of alcohol abuse in the United States: Estimates, update methods, and data.  Report prepared for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Accessed  [xx]Alface, I. (2013, May 27). Children Poisoned by Candy-looking Marijuana Products. Nature World News. Accessed; Jaslow, R. (2013, 28 May). Laxer marijuana laws linked to increase in kids’ accidental poisonings CBS News. Accessed   [xxx]See for example Bryan, M. (2014, 18 April). Pot Smoke And Mirrors: Vaporizer Pens Hide Marijuana Use. NPR 90.9 WBUR.Accessed