Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania has indicated a willingness to think about the legalization of leisure marijuana. In a query and reply session with voters on Twitter on Wednesday, Wolf stated that the expertise with hashish legalization in different states might function a information.
“More and more states are successfully implementing marijuana legalization, and Pennsylvania should learn from their efforts,” Wolf stated.
Wolf, who was elected to a second time period by voters within the midterm elections final month, famous that legalizing leisure marijuana should be initiated by the state legislature.
“Any change would take legislation,” Wolf added. “But I think it is time for Pennsylvania to take a serious and honest look at recreational marijuana.”
Both the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives are presently managed by a Republican majority. As Wolf begins his new time period in January, he can be joined on the Capitol by hashish legalization advocate Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
Pennsylvania legalized the medicinal use of hashish with bipartisan laws that Wolf signed in 2016. He has overseen the implementation of the state’s new medical marijuana program, together with the opening of the primary licensed dispensary earlier this yr. This month, regulators with the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board accredited a course of for including new qualifying circumstances to increase entry to this system.
Decriminalization Bill Tabled
When Wolf first ran for governor in 2014, he referred to as for the decriminalization of lower than one ounce of marijuana. He stopped in need of advocating for full legalization, nevertheless, saying he needed to see if different states might efficiently legalize hashish.
In October, a invoice that may have decriminalized marijuana, HB 928, stalled within the legislature after succeeding in a House Judiciary Committee vote by a margin of 14-9. The invoice would have decriminalized the possession of lower than 30 grams, or about one ounce, of hashish. Currently, possession of marijuana is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by a effective of as much as $500, as much as 30 days in jail, and a suspension of driving privileges.
Republican Rep. Barry Jozwiak, the sponsor of the invoice, is a retired state trooper and the previous sheriff of Berks County, Pennsylvania. He stated that decriminalization would unencumber scarce assets for extra critical crime.
“Downgrading this offense from a misdemeanor to a summary offense would have a positive effect on local law enforcement efforts, allowing police and prosecutors to focus their time and resources on more serious offenses,” Jozwiak stated.
Jozwiak used the world he represents for instance of the trouble and expense required to prosecute possession of small quantities of hashish as a criminal offense.
“Last year, in Berks County, there were 632 cases of possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana,” famous Jozwiak. “These cases cost over $1.5 million dollars to prosecute and brought in only $126,000 in fines. In most cases, each fine was $200 or less. I’m sure this is the same in other counties. This bill will reduce the workload in the court system, save millions of dollars, and allows police to file citations at the local district justice level.”