Marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania? Unlikely, but a state Senator from the Philadelphia area is making an attempt at it.
Emboldened by the votes in Washington and Colorado, PA State Senator Daylin Leach is introducing legislation that would legalize marijuana consumption for those 21 years of age and older.
“This week,” he writes in a recent op-ed, “I am introducing legislation which would have Pennsylvania join these states in ending this modern-day Prohibition. My bill would legalize the consumption of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 without regard to the purpose of that consumption. Here’s why.
“For the past 75 years, our marijuana policy has been foolish, costly and destructive, and it must end. We have been waging a ‘war on drugs’ that includes treating the use of marijuana as a matter for the criminal justice system. We have spent billions of dollars investigating, prosecuting, incarcerating and monitoring millions of our fellow citizens who have hurt no one, damaged no property, breached no peace. Their only ‘crime’ was smoking a plant which made them feel giddy.
“People across our commonwealth have spent time in prison, lost time at work, been forced to hire lawyers and had their lives disrupted and sometimes destroyed because they used a product less dangerous than beer, less risky than children’s cough syrup, less addictive than chocolate and whose societal harm comes from its prohibition rather than its use.”
Indeed. Chances of legalization in a state without medical marijuana is improbable at this point, but every state has to start the discussion. And considering the large population of Pennsylvania, there are bound to be at least tens of thousands of people in desperate need of relief that only medical cannabis can provide.