Legalizing MJ Would Make Pennsylvania More Just
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Legalizing MJ Would Make Pennsylvania More Just
Posted by CN Staff on October 06, 2019 at 13:37:32 PT
By The Inquirer Editorial Board
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Pennsylvania -- After running for 2018 reelection without a clear position on marijuana, Gov. Tom Wolf came out in support of legalizing adult recreational use of marijuana last month. The announcement followed Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s listening tour through every county in the state, where he found a majority of residents supporting legalization.We agree with those residents, and with the governor. Legalizing recreational marijuana could bring economic activity, improve public health, and make Pennsylvania a more just commonwealth.
Marijuana is currently in a weird legal limbo. Federal law prohibits marijuana. And yet, for close to three decades, more and more states have ignored the federal prohibition without consequence. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 states legalized medical marijuana and 11 states legalized recreational use. To get out of this legal limbo, Congress would need to legalize marijuana at the federal level. Until then, states continue to act.Pennsylvania is slowly climbing the marijuana legalization ladder. In 2016, the commonwealth legalized medical marijuana — the first dispensary opened in 2018.The experience of medical legalization in Pennsylvania shows that there is a real demand for marijuana — nearly 200,000 people registered as patients with the state’s Department of Health. Public support for recreational use is also strong: A poll from March showed that 59% of Pennsylvanians support recreational legalization of marijuana.Marijuana prohibition has had a devastating impact on people of color -- nationally, across the commonwealth, and in Philadelphia which decriminalized it in 2014. While marijuana has become more mainstream, black and brown people continue to be incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. According to a BillyPenn analysis, despite its decriminalization in 2014, 85% of all marijuana purchase arrests in Philadelphia in 2018 were of black buyers.Last week, Fetterman announced a new initiative to expedite expungements of marijuana convictions. Still, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, 75 to 80 people are currently incarcerated in state prisons for marijuana offenses, which should be considered for immediate pardon.Marijuana also has an impact on public health. Research indicates that marijuana legalization is associated with fewer opioids prescribed and fewer opioid deaths. Further, with the recent cases of a vaping-related lung illness tied to illicit THC products -- including a reported death in Pennsylvania -- there should be even more urgency to have a well-regulated supply of marijuana products to keep users safe.Recreational marijuana would also bring economic opportunities. Growing marijuana could be an economic boost, especially for rural areas. Tax revenues from selling marijuana could be invested in communities across the state, including those most harmed by marijuana prohibition and the War on Drugs more generally.We’ve come a long way from the days of “reefer madness” in our understanding of marijuana’s dangers and merits — but some Pennsylvanians are still not convinced. Republicans in the legislature have no desire to legalize -- forcing their constituents to forgo the economic, public health, and social justice benefits of marijuana legalization.Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, The (PA)Author: Inquirer Editorial BoardPublished: October 6, 2019 Copyright: 2019 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.URL: Inquirer.Letters phillynews.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on October 14, 2019 at 14:28:09 PT
More Good News
Mexico May Be Just Weeks Away From Legalizing Marijuana.
An October 2018 Supreme Court ruling is about to make Mexico the third country worldwide to green-light adult-use cannabis.
Sean Williams.
Oct 13, 2019 at 11:41AM
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on October 13, 2019 at 15:20:33 PT
John Tyler
We are getting there. That is great!
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on October 11, 2019 at 08:32:04 PT
Meanwhile, in ole Virginia
A University of Mary Washington survey shows 61 percent of Virginians favor legalizing the adult use of marijuana. “While other states are moving to a more sensible approach to cannabis, Virginia is still moving in the wrong direction. It makes absolutely no sense,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring. “Marijuana arrests are now at their highest level in at least two decades and maybe ever, meaning that even more Virginians, especially young people and people of color, are being saddled with criminal records that can drastically affect their lives. Now is the time to put a stop to this costly, unfair, and ineffective approach, and to pursue a better, smarter, fairer course.” right prohibitionist political guys there is an election coming up in Virginia this November (Va. has off year elections.) are you going to do what the majority of voters want, and bring prosperity to the depressed rural areas and social justice to everyone else, or do you want to get voted out of office?
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on October 07, 2019 at 09:59:27 PT
I agree. I won't wish time away but after Trump is out of office I think things should move fast.
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Comment #1 posted by afterburner on October 07, 2019 at 06:43:13 PT
Social Justice Is on the Horizon
Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better:The Opioid Crisis and cannabis reduction of opioid deaths, the unregulated vaping illness and the urgent call for medical regulation, and continuing disproportionate arrests of black and brown cannabis buyers leading to calls for pardons.The majority of Pennsylvanians supports cannabis legalization. Let's Git 'Er Done.
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