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NAACP Endorses Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill

By Thomas H. Clarke June 27, 2013 NAACP Endorses Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill
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HARRISBURG, PA — A bill introduced in Harrisburg to legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol received an endorsement by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP Tuesday.

Senate Bill 528, the Regulate Marijuana Act, was  was introduced earlier this year by State Senator Daylin Leach.

The bill would allow adults 21 and over to grow up to six plants and possess the resulting harvest. It would also allow adults to transfer up to an ounce to other adults.

The proposed bill would also direct the state to come up with a system to regulate and tax marijuana commerce.  The bill includes safeguards to protect against driving under the influence of cannabis, and youth awareness and prevention measures.

aclu report - minoritiesLeach and other sponsors of his bill hope to see a committee hearing on the measure in the fall.

Sen. Leach, who is currently running for the United States House of Representatives, welcomed the group’s support at a Tuesday press conference.

“This is decimating the minority community. This is a problem that is particularly acute,” said Senator Leach.

“The war on drugs is a catastrophic failure,” said David Scott, chair of the Legal Redress Committee for the Cheltenham Area Branch of the NAACP and a former deputy chief of police.

A recent report released by the ACLU, The War on Marijuana: In Black and White, revealed that Pennsylvania was one of the worst states when it came to racial disparities in marijuana arrests.

According to their data, an African American in Pennsylvania is over five times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white Pennsylvanians, despite using at similar rates.

Pennsylvania spends about $350 million a year on arrests, incarceration and monitoring of individuals found to be in possession of small amounts of marijuana, according to Leach.

“We could tax this and gain revenue — that’s hundreds of millions of dollars each year,” Leach said, adding that the revenue could go toward helping public education, fixing roads and providing tax cuts to job creators.

The bill has two official co-sponsors, Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) and Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-Allegheny), although Leach says several other lawmakers have approached him privately to express their support.

“My belief is if this bill was put up to a secret ballot, it would pass,” he said. “The Senate doesn’t look for controversy. Few people have said it’s a bad idea. They said it’s politically difficult.”

 

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  • jimheffner

    Any bill that allows the individual to grow his own I’m in favor of.

    and it harm none, do what you will

    • Christopher Morton

      93 :)

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  • Lure Concepts Fishing Lures

    As long as the government uses the money to bail out deficit instead of giving politicians and the higher ups raises and bonuses.This is a fool proof plan the government to use proceeds to get us back living normal again.

  • ed

    Pennsylvania spends about $350 million a year on arrests, incarceration and monitoring of individuals found to be in possession of “””small amounts of marijuana”””, according to Leach. If that ain’t convincing throw the lawmakers in jail !!!

  • Chaminga

    I’m with you folks calling for legalization, but I need to go a little further I think that legalizing the manufacture, growth, distribution, and sale of any thing that anyone wants to call a drug to anyone that wants to buy it and consume it should be legal. A return to the days of the traveling medicine shows when anybody could mix up an elixir in a bath tub and then sell it to anyone that wants it would go a long way to restoring balance to the disproportionate percentage presently held by the lowest thinking among us.

  • Teddy

    Our first President of the United States encouraged everyone about the benefits of growing and consumption of Hemp or Marijuana. For those who know not find out before U speak

  • Ahr Cee

    Blacks get arrested more than White smokers because they’re stupid, indiscreet, have NO sense of the appropriate and don’t mind occasional visits 2 dey homeez in da joynt, yo.
    The PC whining about the poor put upon wonderful and glorious Blacks, by professional PC whiner organizations and individual jive spewers and Race hustlers, are beyond ridiculous.

    • Youarestupid

      Idiot!

  • Janet Chapman

    Why is this just about money? There are real health issues – lung/breathing and coughing issues, addiction issues, driving under the influence and costs associated. I think the narrow view is so shallow and needs to be investigated wholly.

    • David

      I believe it has been investigated before being proposed. I mean after all, it is already legalized in Colorado, and I doubt they would legalize something without investigating. Weed is known as the safest “drug” on a list including alcohol and caffeine. There are many times worse lung/breathing, coughing, and addiction issues with tobacco alone, yet it is still legal because it is a person’s freedom to choose what they want to do. Most people who want to smoke weed still do, they just do it illegally. Why not legalize and tax the herb that we spend so much money on trying to ban, and help turn our economy around? Who knows, maybe the boost in economy could even help allow people to become more healthy by affording more expensive healthier foods.

    • MSsucks

      All the things you have mentioned have been disputed and proven not to be the case at all for marijuana. There are no found negative health concerns, only beneficial ones. It is a non-addictive substance and surprisingly studies have shown drivers under the influence drove safer and were more cautious. I am not for people smoking and driving at all but as a sufferer of Multiple Sclerosis I cannot stress enough the medical benefits. The govt is now in the dilemma of having to admit all the propaganda it put it out over the years was wrong and we all know how often the govt admits it was wrong but prohibition will never work for them and they are missing out on billions of dollars in revenues.

  • Mike Bigmike

    I hope everyone takes time out of their busy day to write their reps and senators and get get behind the legalization. This 35 year war on drugs has to end. Lets take the money out of the gang bangers and get innocent people out of jail.

  • FED-UP

    Lets make a deal,, I will vote for legalized drugs “IF” you will vote for the death penalty for anyone committing a crime while under the influence of drugs,,

    • J

      When was the last time you heard of someone committing a crime while under the influence of marijuana? Um, never.

      • thedailychronic

        Well, technically speaking most cannabis users “are” committing a crime by being in possession or under the influence of marijuana. However, for the vast majority of marijuana smokers, the only “crime” that is committed is the actual possession or purchase of marijuana, and the only reason they’re committing a “crime” is because of antiquated cannabis prohibition laws. Most cannabis users just want to obey the law and pay their taxes!

    • thedailychronic

      Would your proposal apply to all drugs? So, for example, if you were under the influence of say, NyQuil, and you were driving and ran a stop sign, would you also face the death penalty for committing that crime? What about someone who stops at Starbucks for their morning coffee and was then caught speeding on the way to work? Under your logic, they would face the death penalty as well, seeing as how caffeine is a drug and speeding is a crime.

  • Justin Walter

    Randy Marsh would be proud.

  • ramona

    Anyone involved with the NAACP who made this vacuous decision should be thrown out of the organization;legalizing a “mind altering drug” which will create more “drug addicts” who will walk around in “drug induced stupors” is immoral,unethical,and asinine! Employers should be able to fire any idiot who is determined to be under the influence of marijuana,dolts! The human toll on children ,families, and communities will be catastrophic! Dolts! :-(

    • Robert Proctor

      You’re being here shows that you have an open mind and a willingness to research.
      Do you prefer a police state and a country with 5% of the world’s population having 25% of the world’s prison population, a government that decides, legislates, and forcefully imposes what is “moral” and ethical? I agree with you about employers. But the War on Drugs is not preventing any social problems with drugs. However, its evils are manifest in terms of lives to drug violence and law enforcement, corruption of police and the largest banks of the world, productivity of non-violent individuals incarcerated, and immense costs to society and citizen tax payers to pay for it all.

      NAACP has it right because they work on the street and grass-roots level and know from whence they speak. They’re trying to save lives and opportunity. Keep researching.

    • Daisy

      So over the counter meds, prescription meds, and alcohol are NOT mind altering drugs?????? Before you comment, please know what you are talking about.

  • Joe

    This issue always seems to have both sides on the defense causing some very radical views. Although there are some beneficial medical benefits, it still requires the user to have some responsibility. I smoke pot for the simple fact that I like it, however I wouldn’t want to drive anywhere. As with any drug including Alcohol, there are always risks involved. If you want scary, just read the lists of side effects from the thousands of “Over the Counter” and prescribed drugs.
    To say that pot isn’t addictive is long stretch of the truth too, but what isn’t? Anything that gives us pleasure leaves us wanting to come back for more. Doctors are treating patient’s addictions for everything from chocolate to sex.

    There are a few economical benefits as well, however I doubt they would put much of a dent in our nation’s deficit. The biggest impact would be on our judicial system. Our enforcement officers would be able to give their attention to more severe matters. We pay millions of dollars in taxes to keep our Detention Centers and Prisons up and running.

    People can, and will always have an opinion on just about everything. I personally feel that pot is a lot safer for me than alcohol. More importantly I feel that I should have the choice to choose.

    If you really need to regulate something… consider obesity.

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  • dpeatoot

    it would reduce crime and get rid of drug smuglers

  • Dean Smith

    We waste way too much money on non violent offenses, on top of the fact that it is no worse than alcohol or cigarettes. Actually I would be all for making cigarettes illegal because of the high death toll they cause.

  • Robert Archor

    The war on drugs shares many things with the old Jim Crow laws. America needs to wake up and see that the war on drugs is tearing our country apart on many levels; economic to family. It is truly shocking.