Last week Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach introduced Senate Bill No. 528, known as the “Regulate Marijuana Act,” which decriminalizes the sale and use of marijuana for persons 21 years of age and older. Citing the efficient use of law enforcement resources, the potential tax bonanza and individual freedom, SB 528 ends criminal penalties and prosecution of cannabis users and small backyard growers, saving taxpayers tens of millions of dollars per year, according to Leach.
“Lives are being destroyed by prohibition,” observed Leach, making the case that the health and safety of Pennsylvania would be better served if marijuana were regulated in a manner similar to alcohol.
Leach’s decriminalization bill is actively backed by the non-partisan Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Pennsylvania Veterans for Marijuana Legalization and cleverly-named Pennsylvania Hempland Security.
The bill is not without its flaws. Most detrimentally SB 528 gives the state Liquor Control Board a near monopoly on the wholesale and retail distribution of marijuana, in the manner of Pennsylvania’s much maligned government retail sales of wine and spirits. Still, the bill attempts to reclaim state sovereignty against unconstitutional federal regulation, which is a welcome assertion of state rights secured by the Tenth Amendment.
ACTION ITEMS for Pennsylvania
1. Contact your state representative. Strongly, but respectfully, urge them to support SB 528 or to support market-friendly amendments to SB 528 to encourage farmers, farmers’ markets and small businesses to responsibly grow and sell marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Contact information here:
2. Legislative Tracking
Track the status of the marijuana decriminalization laws in states around the country here.