Leach: Pa. GOP Senators Support Legal Pot – On The QT

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SATTE SEN. DAYLIN LEACH, center, was joined by NORML's national Communications Dir. Erik Altieri, left, and Phila. NORML leader Joe Forte at Mid-Atlantic Conference for marijuana prohibition repeal on U Penn campus.

SATTE SEN. DAYLIN LEACH, center, was joined by NORML’s national Communications Dir. Erik Altieri, left, and Phila. NORML leader Joe Forte at Mid-Atlantic Conference for marijuana prohibition repeal on U Penn campus.

Quiet support for full marijuana legalization reaches across both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill, State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) told an audience on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus last Saturday.

Keynoting a Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, Leach said private reactions by his colleagues to his proposal to legalize, tax and regulate the sale of marijuana in Pennsylvania (SB 528) are unprecedented. Numerous conservative Republicans have told him they agree with him completely, but are afraid to go public with their beliefs.

There are 27 Republicans in the 50-member Senate. “If a vote could be taken by secret ballot, I am certain 15 of them would vote for it,” Leach said. However, since Senate votes are a matter of public record, he expects none of them will dare to vote for it.

This doesn’t faze Leach, who believes it is time to press for complete legalization of marijuana, in the wake of successful ballot initiatives to end prohibition in Colorado and Washington state last fall. Other states, including neighboring New Jersey, have introduced legalization for medical marijuana.

Leach’s measure would utilize the existing Liquor Control Board to sell recreational marijuana in much the same way it now sells beverage alcohol. Age limits, driving restrictions and other restraints on legal marijuana would follow the model of similar laws governing strong drink. Leach estimated the Commonwealth would gain hundreds of millions of dollars in sorely needed revenue this way.

The end of marijuana prohibition is a generational change that is only a matter of time now, Leach maintained.

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15 Responses to Leach: Pa. GOP Senators Support Legal Pot – On The QT

  1. Why would the politicians be afraid to vote for what the public wants? Maybe we should watch the vote and vote accordingly!

    Jack
    March 20, 2013 at 3:25 pm

  2. I’m sure this is the case in our federal lawmaking bodies as well.

    Think about it. National polls now a slight majority of Americans favor legalization. When you look at demographic breakdowns, younger voters are more likely than the oldest voters to support it, and males are far more likely than females to support it.

    Older voters (and politicians) who came of age before pot use took off in this country are mostly strongly opposed to legalization, and according to federal drug use statistics are not likely at all to have ever used marijuana. A strong majority of voters under 65 support it, with suprisingly high support among those 45 to 64. These numbers mirror the lifetime use numbers from the federal drug-use statistics.

    Those who have used pot in their lifetimes, or are among the demographic groups most likely to have used marijuana before, are far more likely than those not in those demographic groups to support legalization.

    Most of our lawmakers are males with at least some college, which means that those who came of age in the late ’60s or later are more likely than the population as a whole to have at least tried marijuana. Most lawmakers in their mid-’60s or younger have probably smoked pot.

    The older lawmakers, the elders, tend to head up most of the important committees and call most of the shots, dictate the party line, but they are steadily being replaced.

    Things are about to change in a big way, especially as we see support for legalization continue to grow among voters and more states legalizing. Fewer and fewer will be afraid to voice their support in our lawmaking bodies, state and federal.

    The writing is on the wall. Legalization is coming.

    BigJohn
    March 21, 2013 at 9:39 am

  3. You should do it. The money it’ll make will be good for the state and the revenue from tourists will also be beneficial.

    Ryan
    March 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm

  4. To clear up some murky phrasing near the end, New Jersey legalized medical marijuana a few years before the bills for the end of prohibition passed in Colorado and Washington.

    It also took them over three years to get the first dispensary up because of how incredibly restrictive the language chosen in that bill was. It’s also almost impossible to get medical pot in NJ unless you are quite literally dying of HIV/AIDS or cancer. They are absolutely NOT a good example to be using for medical marijuana.

    It will now take them much, much longer (if ever…I mean, Pennsylvania JUST privatized their liquor sales after hundreds of years) to revise the legislation on the issue so that it is even remotely reasonable and feasible within the context of the law in the state of New Jersey.

    Also…@Jack: That’d be because national-level politics is far more about securing a lifetime six-figure pension than it is any sort of democratic representation (for 9.9/10 reps).

    MikeK
    March 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm

  5. It’s about time the wall of lies about cannabis come tumbling down along with the wall of prohibition.

    Cannabis legalization is a human-rights issue, with millions of responsible adult pot-smokers in this country potentially or actually being harrassed, segregated or otherwise stigmatized. Under the current law, obtaining pot puts one at risk for all kinds of impurities and inherent dangers of dealing with potentially unpredictable vendors. There is no good reason for not having licensed dealers to provide a safe and accountable source of quality cannabis.

    There is abundant research suggesting that ingesting cannabis has health benefits, even smoking it, and if this is the case, then doubly so, the laws violate my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (and good health).

    Fireweed
    March 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

  6. Legalize it please.

    Joshua
    April 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm

  7. Pennsylvania needs to get with the facts of the matter. I believe hard alcohol and cigarettes are proven to be more harmful than smoking pot. Historically it was used for many ailments and alcohol was illegal.

    Pot in my opinion should be regulated, I propose for medical purposes. I have never heard being prescribed nicotine or whiskey to treat ailments which are proven to reduce with marijuana use: for example, cancer anxiety. I went to California and had a severe panic attack, went to hospital and Mary Jane was suggested to calm me down.

    I am urging Pennsylvania not to be the oldest or one of the last states to truly benefit: for exampl,e less jail placement and more money for the state. It’s a win-win all around. It is 2013, people; let’s make a positive move for Pennsylvania and legalize the use of medical marijuana and see how it goes. It certainly cannot hurt this state of ours.

    Gretchen
    April 6, 2013 at 4:06 am

  8. It’s a joke. Alcohol and cigarettes have killed more people then any ither drug and they’re legal. Pot does not kill anyone. Tax it. The state would not have to every worry about going bankrupt, like they almost did in California.

    john
    April 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

  9. I support and applaud your efforts. Legalizing marijuana would create an enormous revenue to help fight real drugs like cigarettes and alcohol.

    Joe
    April 14, 2013 at 5:36 pm

  10. I strongly support the legalization of marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania.

    As a veteran of the OIF/OEF war, I suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The medicine that was being prescribed to be in order to deal with PTSD had little effect. Marijuana helped me to cope with the terrifying night sweats and nightmares.

    In the long run, I do believe the people of Pennsylvania could not only benefit from legalizing marijuana for medical purposes but also profit from allowing recreational use through sales and tax.

    Jeff
    April 20, 2013 at 5:46 pm

  11. As a young adult (21), obviously I am expected to agree with the regulation of cannabis. Which indeed, I am in agreement with. Removing your responsible users from prisons. Removing police from their hunt for users and dealers. Taxed cannabis brings in some hefty cash. Simply put, less money wasted, more earned. As well as fighting actual drugs like meth or cocaine.

    Also, as many prior to myself have stated, alcohol and tobacco are far worse “drugs” to be using than marijuana. Treat weed like alcohol is treated now. Driving restrictions, no public use (outside private homes, bars, etc.), and my twist on this: sell them as cigarettes or chewing tobacco. A can or pack for $10 will last a moderate user probably 2 weeks or more. Also medicinal use, of course. Although to have it readily available to the public in a gas station or grocery store would remove the extra money spent on government facilities. In short, sell weed like tobacco, with laws like alcohol.

    Now, my reasoning for legalization is this. Prohibition, the 18th Amendment — the illegal manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors in the 1840s through 1920s. Our history shows the problems with banning certain “drugs”, which will always bring unnecessary “crimes”.

    “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
    -George Santayana

    Levi
    April 22, 2013 at 2:41 am

  12. Awesome. I agree.

    Marisa
    May 24, 2013 at 11:28 pm

  13. I feel it is definitely time to lighten up on the marijuana laws. It is less harmful, dangerous, and more difficult for kids to acquire than alcohol. I am 58, and from what I have experienced & seen, alcohol is the gateway drug.

    I hope our elected officials state their views on this issue for their next reelection agenda. I`m sure a lot of voters would very likely take it into consideration when making a choice.

    Debbie Davis
    July 2, 2013 at 3:59 am

  14. I applaud Sen. Leach for trying to bring Pennsylvania out of the dark ages where people’s lives are ruined after being locked up for smoking pot. sadly, we have a Governor who publicly stated he will veto any bill such as this one.

    I also echo what others have said regarding alcohol and cigs. I understand that alcohol and tobacco sellers also have huge lobbying efforts in Washington that help define agendas. Sad, that elected officials are swayed by them; but their election campaigns were bought and paid for….

    Bob Archor
    July 2, 2013 at 6:14 am

  15. Being the first state on the East Coast to legalize recreational use would bring a plethora of tax and tourism revenue.

    But keep in mind that this is a green rush, much like the gold rush. The first to get established will rule the market early on and make large margins. However, many will jump on the grow-your-own bandwagon, and the market will be flooded with an influx of weed. Lucky there are so many uses for it!

    http://www.wakingtimes.com/2012/07/03/hemp-a-cash-crop-for-medicine-food-and-shelter/

    Jacob M
    January 10, 2014 at 10:14 pm

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