Rep Brian Smith Interview

His son died of a drug overdose. 

The drug use started with marijuana. He’s now a Pennsylvania State Representative,
pushing back against statewide efforts to legalize marijuana for commercial sale.


Father. Business Owner. State Representative.

Rep. Brian Smith is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania and a successful small-business owner. In 2021, with his family roots in Punxsutawney and his respect in the community, he was elected as state representative to serve as their area’s voice in Harrisburg.

Before being elected to office, this same community proved to be a great source of strength in his role as a father, leading his family through a great tragedy.

It started with his son’s habitual use of marijuana. For Rep. Smith and his wife, they did what they could to stop him from using.

“We felt that he lived under our roof and should abide by our rules. That was one rule we had…no drugs.”

“We just didn’t want him doing it at a young age.”

When he turned 18, his son started using more than marijuana. On a class trip, he bought a Xani bar and took it back to where their group was staying.

He ate the bar, went to sleep and he never woke up.

As you can imagine, his family was heartbroken. “It was devastating. My wife and I didn’t work for three months. Luckily, we both owned businesses with great employees who took over for us.”

The community was a source of strength that helped the Smith family during the aftermath of this tragedy. “What brought me out of it was our neighbors and the people in the community who reached out to us.”  People in the community shared similar life tragedies and showed how life can go on. 

I can miss him as much as I want but life will go on and I will excel.”

This tragic experience has given Rep. Smith a perspective on the impacts of drug use and what policy makers should do in response to the growing drug abuse epidemic. Rep. Smith is opposed to the legalization of marijuana for non-medical use, and to the statewide commercialization that would result.

“There are many outcomes from the usage of marijuana that are not good. If people would just look at the information and understand that. [Knowing my story] you have to understand the reason why I have the stance that I have on marijuana.”

The reality of today’s modern marijuana, with industrialized high-potency products that can contain up to 99% THC, is that it causes more harm to individuals, families, and communities. A move to commercialize marijuana sales results in a variety of negative consequences.

“Please understand the negatives of the drug. It’s not worth the negatives.”