Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: January 14th, 2013
Marijuana legalization bill takes shape in PA senate

Though he only has a few cosponsors for his bill, Montgomery County Senator Daylin Leach remains unruffled, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer in a recent article on the crafter of the legislation that would decriminalize marijuana for recreational, not medicinal, use. He knows that he has a snowball’s chance in Hades to get the bill into law since Governor Corbett has already stated that he would veto the legislation if it ever made it to his desk.

Citing the expense to the state (actually, taxpayers), according to the article, which is roughly $350 million that he says “Pennsylvania agencies spend each year to arrest and adjudicate 25,000 people for marijuana offenses.”

The way the law reads now, Pennsylvania permits 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for possession of up to about an ounce. Most first-time offenders get probation, but could land in jail “if possession becomes a probation violation for another offense, or if they don’t pay fines and court costs.”

Leach is one of a growing number of legislators who grew up with pot, has smoked it himself during his youth and feels that laws that end up unfairly penalizing certain populations need to change.

But others disagree, including the governor who believes that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Either way, the debate has begun.

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Comments

4 comments on “Marijuana legalization bill takes shape in PA senate

  1. It figues that PA would get in line with making MJ legal. Next will be harder drugs. I’m almost ashamed to say I was born and raised in PA. It also shows me that PA isn’t a state by it self but one that hs to follow in the rear. My son asked me once, when he was a teen, what I thought of him wanting to get his ears pierced to wear earrings. I told him they were his ears and if that was his choice I wouldn’t interfer, however, if he was doing it because all his buddies did it, then he was just following along and not standing by himself as an individual. That is what PA is doing, just follwing along like the rest of the crowd in the USA. What a shame, a real shame. Wait until you start haveing people killed by drivers high on MJ and see how much you like that. By the way, my son never did get his ears pierced.He stands as an individual and not a follower and I’m extremely proud of him for not being just a follower.

  2. It figues that PA would get in line with making MJ legal. Next will be harder drugs. I’m almost ashamed to say I was born and raised in PA. It also shows me that PA isn’t a state by it self but one that has to follow in the rear. My son asked me once, when he was a teen, what I thought of him wanting to get his ears pierced to wear earrings. I told him they were his ears and if that was his choice I wouldn’t interfer, however, if he was doing it because all his buddies did it, then he was just following along and not standing by himself as an individual. That is what PA is doing, just follwing along like the rest of the crowd in the USA. What a shame, a real shame. Wait until you start having people killed by drivers high on MJ and see how much you like that. By the way, my son never did get his ears pierced.He stands as an individual and not a follower and I’m extremely proud of him for not being just a follower.

  3. Chuck, Marijuana does not lead to more drugs. It has been society who started arresting those who smoked. So they looked for other things that were easier to get and with low prices. But, you can thank the pharmaceutical companies that introduced harder drugs to our children since way back when when Heroine was used as an elixer and cocaine was used in soda. That is the problem of drugs today and through politicians is why drugs are so prevalent. Marijuana does not cause anyone to search for harder drugs and if it were legalized by the state government and taxed, it would create a tremendous revenue to our state and maybe instead of wasting taxpayer’s money it could be productively used to fund our schools, such as Nevada uses gambling which was a farce in PA.

  4. I agree with Maria, we can use some of the revenue for education for our children and the money (and resources) saved in law enforcement to clean up the “harder” drug problems and not the 1 drug that you can’t overdose on! Unlike the perfectly “legal” “gateway” drugs alcohol and nicotine! If the governor really wanted to do something about gateway drugs why doesn’t he consider closing all of the state run liquor stores?

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