Pa. pot proponents buoyed by legalization votes
HARRISBURG — Some advocates of repealing or relaxing Pennsylvania's anti-marijuana laws say they are encouraged by referendum votes to legalize recreational use of the drug in Colorado and Washington state, but Gov. Tom Corbett vows to veto any such bill.
State Sen. Daylin 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, D-Montgomery, compared marijuana legalization efforts to the debate over legalizing same-sex marriage, saying that once a few states act, it will reveal the falsity of “all the horror stories” perpetuated by opponents.
“More and more states will do it, and as more states do it, the arguments against it will become weaker and weaker,” he said.
Leach said he intends to resurrect his bill to allow marijuana use for medical purposes and will sponsor a bill to decriminalize the drug.
“The smoking of marijuana should not be handled as a criminal justice issue,” he said.
Chris Goldstein, a board member of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, agreed that the Colorado and Washington balloting will bolster support for legalizing marijuana, especially for medical reasons.
Goldstein cited a May 2010 poll by Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster showing that 80 percent of Pennsylvanians favored the medical use of marijuana.
“It's a bipartisan issue,” he said. “I don't think that legislators can make it a back-burner issue anymore.”
But Corbett's spokesman, Kevin Harley, said Corbett 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.
State Rep. Mark Cohen, a Philadelphia Democrat who unsuccessfully sponsored medical-marijuana bills in the last two legislative sessions, said he would introduce similar legislation in the next session but he is not optimistic about its prospects.
Cohen said the proposal lacks support among his fellow Democrats and has no support from the Republican majority.
Unless that changes, “it's obvious we don't have the votes to pass it,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Conneaut Lake Park to take case to court for tax-exempt status
- Cold sets record high of 21 for Nov. 18
- Attorney general Kane reverses claim about child porn in emails
- Kane’s office backtracks on prosecution in email scandal
- Pennsylvania legislative leader Costa blasts suggestion of session before Wolf sworn in as governor
- Ohio woman shot to death nearly 3 days before police find body in Neshannock home
- Geologist: Site of idyllic 1833 painting of Lancaster found