Holds office State House District 118
iVoterGuide 2020 Questionnaire:
I support the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Smoky Mountain News, 1/22/2019:
Commissioner Mark Pless:
"I am opposed personally to marijuana use, however since being elected to office I realize my opinion is not always the opinion of everyone who I represent. That being said, I researched about what effect alcohol has had on society, since it was once illegal and now legal.
When prohibition was first established the reasons were commonly reported as – in the 1800s men enjoyed drinking alcohol to such degree that women and children were neglected greatly. It was felt that prohibition of alcohol manufacture, sales and consumption was the only possible solution. So the 18th amendment was added. Then the Great Depression struck in 1929 and the government started looking for tax revenue. So now the decision was made in 1933 that alcohol manufacturing, sale and consumption was needed so it could produce new tax revenue.
Everyone knew that being illegal didn't prevent manufacturing, sale or consumption – it just kept the government from getting any money from it. Today there are 88,000 deaths attributed to alcohol consumption, which makes it the 3rd highest in preventable deaths.
Sale and manufacturing of alcohol does increase tax revenue. Given the costs of Medical care spent each year treating diseases that come from alcohol consumption, we haven't gained money. Given our society seems to favor free healthcare, if that day ever comes the tax collected certainly would not come close to the amount paid out by the government for medical care due to alcohol consumption.
That is a long way to say I couldn't support legalization of marijuana.
First is the immediate concern that it would affect the safety of everyone in Haywood County when people drive, operate machinery or even prepare food at restaurants while under the effects of legal marijuana.
Second there are still a lot of unrevealed ways the body could become diseased from regular use of marijuana. Cigarette smoking is a prime example of how over the years, something that began with our first American ancestors now is proven to cause early death and numerous health issues.
Third and lastly, government is always looking for new taxes sources when the real problem is spending. There is no reason to look at marijuana as a new tax source because in 10 years or less the tax revenue will no longer be a bonus to alleviate tax deficits portrayed today. Everyone will be looking for another tax source because by then, the marijuana manufacturing and sales tax will not be enough."
Smoky Mountain News 8/11/21 - Medical cannabis advancing through General Assembly
“I don’t see a need for it,” said Pless. “I understand they’re trying to open up options, but there are 36 states that have already done that. If people need that, they can just go live in one of those states.”
Response to 2020 NC Family Policy Council's question “Should North Carolina legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes?” NO
F Public opposition to significant marijuana law reform (adult use, medical, and/or decriminalization) but may have sponsored and/or voted in favor of CBD/Hemp specific bills.
There have been no votes on cannabis related bills during his term.
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room. 533
Raleigh, NC 27603