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GOP Rep. Warns Pot Will Destroy Families and Cost Taxpayers

Relaxing marijuana laws will destroy American families and burden taxpayers with “an increasingly entitlement state” necessary to support those impacted by drug addiction, Republican Rep. John Fleming warned Friday.

“As marijuana and other addicting drugs are determined by society to be more acceptable and legal, we are certain to see more broken families, broken lives, and broken bodies and deaths,” Fleming said at the Values Voter summit. “Be prepared as this will lead to a greater burden to taxpayer funded social services and an increasing entitlement state to help those families destroyed by addiction.”

The annual gathering of social conservatives features a number of speakers advocating for issues like traditional marriage and anti-abortion rights. But legalizing pot has not received much attention until the Louisiana lawmakers speech.

Though marijuana is banned by federal law, Colorado and Washington have legalized its recreational use and a number of other states have decriminalized it. Public opinion has steadily become more accepting of pot, but Fleming delivered a dire warning that the drug’s effects have been greatly underestimated.

“Spouse abuse, child abuse, motor vehicle accidents, suicides, mental illness and failed marriages can often be linked to drug addiction. And too often there is a link back to our good friend marijuana,” said Fleming.

IN-DEPTH

-- Andrew Rafferty