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John Fetterman Aims High, Calls for Cannabis Legalization

    Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman wants to legalize cannabis nationally and is urging President Joe Biden to ...


ERIE, PA - AUGUST 12: Democratic Senate candidate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D-PA) speaks during a rally at the Bayfront Convention Center on August 12, 2022 in Erie, Pennsylvania. Fetterman made his return to the campaign trail in Erie after recovering from a stroke he suffered in May. (Photo by …

Pennsylvania’s Democratic U.S. Senate nominee John Fetterman wants to legalize cannabis nationally and is urging President Joe Biden to deschedule the drug, removing it from the list of federally controlled substances.

In a press release shared by his communications director John Calvello on Monday, Fetterman, who is Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, called for the decriminalization of marijuana and for Biden to declassify it as a Schedule I drug:

It’s long past time we finally decriminalize marijuana. The president needs to use his executive authority to begin descheduling marijuana, I would love to see him do this prior to his visit to Pittsburgh. This is just common sense and Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support decriminalizing marijuana. 

Citing a Fetterman spokesperson, Katie Glueck of the New York Times tweeted that the Democrat senatorial nominee is set to walk with Biden in the Labor Day parade Monday in Pittsburgh. During their time together, Fetterman will pitch the president on decriminalizing the drug.

“I don’t want to hear any bullshit coming out of Dr. Oz’s campaign trying to conflate decriminalizing marijuana with seriously harmful crime,” Fetterman added in the release.

Though he is calling for the decriminalization of marijuana, Fetterman supports going steps further and legalizing the recreational use of cannabis nationwide.

“Weed should be legal, nationwide — for jobs, justice, veterans, farmers, and revenue,” Fetterman’s campaign website states. “It’s far past time we end the failed war on drugs and let go of this bizarre superstition and criminalization of a plant.”

A Monitoring the Future study found young adults are using marijuana at the highest clip recorded since this study began in 1988, National Public Radio (NPR) reported last week. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) sponsored the survey that was conducted by the Institute for Research at the University of Michigan. Data was collected between April 2021 and October. Of the young adult (19-30) demographic, NPR noted:

The amount of young adults who said in 2021 that they used marijuana in the past year (43%), the past month (29%) or daily (11%) were at the highest levels ever recorded.

Daily use — defined in the study as 20 or more times in 30 days — was up from 8% in 2016.

Another 12 percent of survey participants reported using marijuana in vape form over the previous month. Moreover, the study honed in on hallucinogenic use, including psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, MDMA, peyote, and PCP. Researchers discovered that eight percent of young adults reported using a hallucinogen over the previous year, marking a record high for the study.

While marijuana has been legalized for recreational use in 19 states since 2014, its short and long-term side effects can be severe. In the immediate term, users can experience hallucinations and delusions when taking higher dosages, as well as psychosis, though this is more common in regular users, the NIDA reports. In the long run, heavy marijuana use in teenage years through early adulthood, on average, leads to a loss of about eight IQ points.

“The lost mental abilities didn’t fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults,” the NIDA notes. “Those who started smoking marijuana as adults didn’t show notable IQ declines.”

A separate study published on August 24 to the Wiley Online Library has found that those living in states where cannabis is legalized use the drug far more often than their counterparts in states where it is illegal.

The study gauged the frequency of their marijuana use and honed in on 111 sets of identical twin participants included in the 3,421 respondents. Among identical twins — where one sibling lived in a state where pot was legalized recreationally and the other resided in a state where it remained illegal — the twin in the recreationally legal state, on average, consumed cannabis 20 percent more frequently than their sibling.

“Our results are consistent with other studies indicating increases in use attributable to legalization,” the researchers noted.

John Fetterman, lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic senate candidate, speaks during a campaign rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, US, on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Fetterman hasn’t been on the campaign trail in his US Senate race since suffering a stroke in May. (Justin Merriman/Bloomberg/ Getty Images)

“Additionally, the existence of recreational policies influences the perception of cannabis use, making it viewed as more safe and less stigmatized,” said researcher Stephanie Zellers, as CNN noted. Zellers “was a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of Minnesota at the time of the project” and is “now a researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland,” according to the outlet.

Considering that marijuana use among those 19-30 years old is at a record high according to the Monitoring Our Future study and the demographic constitutes a prime portion of the workforce, the increased usage could have far-reaching ramifications in the workplace.

The NIDA cites one study showing that postal workers “who tested positive for marijuana on a pre-employment urine drug test had 55% more industrial accidents, 85% more injuries, and 75% greater absenteeism compared with those who tested negative for marijuana use.”

On top of Fetterman’s support for the legalization of marijuana nationwide, he has also voiced his support for “safe” heroin injection sites, as Breitbart News noted.

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