Democratic Senator Seeks To Decriminalize MJ
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Democratic Senator Seeks To Decriminalize MJ
Posted by CN Staff on December 27, 2012 at 06:43:19 PT
By Danielle Lynch
Source: Daily Times 
Pennsylvania -- State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, has plans to resurrect a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Pennsylvania.Some advocates of repealing or relaxing Pennsylvania’s anti-marijuana laws recently told the Associated Press they were encouraged by referendum votes to legalize recreational use of the drug in Colorado and Washington state.
Leach, who sponsored one of two medical-marijuana bills that died in committee during the just-ended legislative session, said the referendums results will help pave the way for similar measures in other states. Leach said he intends to resurrect his bill to allow marijuana use for medical purposes and will also sponsor a bill to decriminalize the drug.“The smoking of marijuana should not be handled as a criminal justice issue,” he said.Other local officials had mixed reactions to legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical purposes.Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said he was against the proposal. Whelan said tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana more commonly known as THC, can cause distortion in time, place and manner.Whelan, a Republican, argued the only reason people use marijuana is to get high. In contrast, he said some people drink alcohol for social and recreational reasons and there can be benefits to having a drink in moderation. For example, he said some people drink a glass of red wine at dinner because it has been said to benefit the heart.Even though advocates of medical use of marijuana have argued there are positive benefits to its use, Whelan maintained he was against it. He believes there are other treatments already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can help cancer patients, for instance. In addition, Whelan said marijuana inhalation, similar to smoking cigarettes, is harmful to the lungs.Leach argued the prohibition of marijuana is more damaging than the prohibition of alcohol, which ended 80 years ago. He said if there was a safe, legal product, there would be no incentives for people to sell it illegally.“It’s time to end a prohibition that has caused so much damage,” Leach said. Leach said there would need to be restrictions with any legalization, such as no driving under the influence and age limits. Previous versions of the bill called for the state sales tax to be imposed on all sales of marijuana in Pennsylvania.Kevin Harley, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s spokesman, said the governor would veto any legalization bill, even if it were limited to medical purposes.“He believes that smoking marijuana is a crime, should remain a crime and that marijuana is a gateway drug,” Harley said.“The issue of legalizing marijuana for medical uses has not been part of our legislative agenda, but we’re aware of the actions taken in other states such as California, New Jersey and Massachusetts,” said Erik Arneson, a spokesman for state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-9, of Chester, in an email. “First and foremost, this is a medical issue, and we have not heard from Pennsylvania’s medical community advocating for the General Assembly to take up the issue. Given the recent comments of the governor’s spokesman, it seems there’s no reason to expect it will be considered in the new session.”In the state House, state Rep. Mark Cohen, D-202, of Philadelphia, has unsuccessfully sponsored medical-marijuana bills in the last two legislative sessions. He said he would introduce similar legislation in the next session, but he is not optimistic about its prospects.State Rep. Greg Vitali, D-166, of Haverford, said he believes people who are suffering from serious medical conditions, such as cancer, should have this type of relief available so long as there are proper safeguards in place.Michael Stoll, a spokesman for House Appropriations Majority Leader Bill Adolph, R-165, of Springfield, said the issue has not received a lot of interest among members of the House Republican Caucus. It’s also not an issue that Adolph has heard about from constituents, Stoll said.Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said it’s his belief that marijuana has been “a gateway drug to more hard-core drugs.” He said he does not have an issue with marijuana being used to treat someone with an illness so long as it is dispensed by a medical doctor only. He does not believe marijuana should be dispensed by someone who is not a doctor and said that has become a problem in other states, such as California.State Rep. Steve Barrar, R-160, of Upper Chichester, also pointed to California as an example of state where the legalization of marijuana has become out of hand. He took a shot at Leach and his effort to resurrect the bill related to medical use of marijuana.“I think this is an issue Sen. Leach is definitely high on,” Barrar said. “For me, this is an issue I will oppose as long as I’m in office. I see no good coming from legalizing marijuana is any shape or form.” The Associated Press contributed to this article. Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)Author: Danielle LynchPublished: Wednesday, December 26, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Daily TimesContact: newsroom delcotimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #5 posted by Quax Mercy on December 28, 2012 at 13:30:58 PT:
21st Century Science
I wonder what it would take for such representatives as Corbett, Whelan & Barrar to actually step up & take on the 21st Century science in support of Cannabis as super food and safe,effective, appropriate palliative medicine. Yes, there is research supporting MJ as gateway: something like 1% go on to try heroin. Politicians shouldn't be allowed to get away with bringing outdated superstitions to the table.You need to be willfully blind to avoid the environmental benefits of hemp within the economy. You could look it up yourself, Barrar!
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Comment #4 posted by ekim on December 28, 2012 at 09:18:54 PT
very interesting have not read much on this
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Comment #3 posted by RevRayGreen on December 27, 2012 at 13:52:56 PT
South-side Reverend strikes again...
"On the brink of legalization, can we start releasing the nonviolent marijuana prisoners in state/federal prisons if the only charge they serve under relates to marijuana, and start the discharge of many on parole?"— South-side ReverendYour 2 Cents' Worth, Dec. 27, 2012 via  dmregister
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on December 27, 2012 at 13:16:20 PT
Another Nixon Clone Caught in a Time-Warp
D A Jack Whelan repeats the message of a disgraced U.S. President. The alcohol-lovers refrain!
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Comment #1 posted by sinsibility on December 27, 2012 at 10:31:38 PT:
For Sale
I have 43 acres of land in the heart of the Marcellus Shale for sale, all gas rights transfer.
If I found gold here I'd still be leaving. The stupidest people in the world run this place.     I'll bet Tom Corbett drinks the true gateway drug like a fish, but gets forgiven every Sunday.
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