MORE

Marijuana legalization proposal like Colorado's coming to Pennsylvania: More states to follow?

Following Amendment 64's passage, marijuana reformers have pushed for similar measures beyond Colorado's borders -- the idea being that if cannabis is legalized in more states, the federal government will have to change policies making pot illegal under all circumstances. That's precisely what's happening today in Pennsylvania: Moments from now, a press conference is scheduled to introduce legislation that's likely to use A64 as a template.

In its press release announcing the news event, expected to get underway at 2 p.m. Eastern/noon Mountain time today at the Capitol building in Harrisburg, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a major player in the Colorado campaign, touts the "introduction of Pennsylvania legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol."

For those who've already forgotten, Amendment 64's proponents dubbed it the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act."

Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach, center.
Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach, center.

The sponsor of the bill is Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach, whose website says he "has been vocal about the benefits Pennsylvanians could reap by legalizing marijuana, most notably by bringing in much-needed tax revenue, providing a legal treatment alternative to patients suffering from terminal illness and finally ending a prohibition on a natural substance that causes no harm and cannot become the source of an addiction."

Yes, each of these themes was struck on behalf of Amendment 64 -- and the connection is further enhanced by the LEAP release, which explicitly points to Colorado and Washington state, which passed a similar measure. Here's an excerpt from the missive, on view below in its entirety:

In November, voters in Washington State and Colorado voted to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Legislators in other states have announced plans to introduce similar legislation in their states. Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach is introducing a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Pennsylvania. Senator Leach believes that ending marijuana prohibition will raise revenue for Pennsylvania and bring an end to a failed policy of prohibition. "This past November, the people of Washington State and Colorado voted to fully legalize marijuana," said Leach. "It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in jettisoning this modern-day prohibition, and ending a policy that has been destructive, costly and anti-scientific."

Appearing with Leach at the press conference is Dr. David Nathan, a clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Princeton, New Jersey, and a familiar face to Colorado voters, Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore cop who's now LEAP's executive director.

Click to read Westword's profile of Franklin.

We can't directly compare Leach's proposal to Amendment 64 quite yet; LEAP spokesman Tom Angell tells us it's still in the drafting process, although it should receive a numerical designation and be available for public perusal soon. Still, it's clear that marijuana legalization efforts across the country will at least look to Amendment 64 for guidance, if not mirror its language precisely.

Continue to see the complete LEAP release.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition press release:

Monday, February 11: Capitol Building Press Conference to Announce Introduction of Legislation to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

State Senator Daylin Leach and Law Enforcement and Medical Advocates Discuss Marijuana Legalization Efforts in Pennsylvania

Momentum Growing in States After Voters in Colorado and Washington State Legalized Marijuana in November

WHO:

* PA State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware)

* Neill Franklin, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

* David Nathan, M.D., clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, teaches psychiatry in Princeton, New Jersey

WHAT: Press conference announcing introduction of Pennsylvania legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol

WHEN: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 2 p.m.

WHERE: Capitol Media Center, Room 1 in the East Wing of the Capitol Building, Harrisburg

Background

In November, voters in Washington State and Colorado voted to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Legislators in other states have announced plans to introduce similar legislation in their states. Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach is introducing a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Pennsylvania. Senator Leach believes that ending marijuana prohibition will raise revenue for Pennsylvania and bring an end to a failed policy of prohibition. "This past November, the people of Washington State and Colorado voted to fully legalize marijuana," said Leach. "It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in jettisoning this modern-day prohibition, and ending a policy that has been destructive, costly and anti-scientific."

Also present at the press conference will be Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "Cops see the ineffectiveness and harms of marijuana prohibition up close, every day," says Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop. "Keeping marijuana illegal doesn't significantly reduce use, but it does give tax-free profits to violent gangs and cartels that control the black market. Now, thanks to Sen. Leach's proposal, Pennsylvania has a chance to join Colorado and Washington in letting police focus on the job we signed up to do -- keeping the public safe -- instead of being distracted by chasing down marijuana users."

Dr. David Nathan believes that the criminalization of marijuana does little to limit its use and is inconsistent with the public health approach taken to similar substances. "Our nation can acknowledge the dangers of cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana while still permitting their use," says Nathan. "The only logically and morally consistent argument for marijuana prohibition necessitates the criminalization of all harmful recreational drugs, including alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. We can agree that such an infringement on personal freedoms is as impractical as it is un-American. The time has come to accept that our nation's attitude toward marijuana has been misguided for generations and that the only rational approach to cannabis is to legalize, regulate and tax it."

More from our Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64 is now law: Governor John Hickenlooper quietly signs measure."


Sponsor Content