Marijuana: Pennsylvania senator toked up during state-funded pot visit to Colorado

Legal cannabis has attracted a wide variety of tourists to Colorado who might not have come to the state otherwise -- including Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach. But Leach's trip was work-related. He and a few staff members recently spent three days here in order to inhale as much information they possibly could about the state's cannabis industry.

And yes, we're using the word "inhale" literally.

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According to a column he wrote for the York Daily Reporter, Leach, who has advocated for Pennsylvania to legalize medical cannabis, toured two growing facilities, two dispensaries, a processing lab and a testing lab in an effort to "see what complete legalization looks like." And he gives Colorado a strong nod of approval.

"Beyond the money, it struck us how professional everyone involved in the business is," Leach writes. "Cannabis is highly regulated, and these regulations are strictly enforced. So you really have to know your business in order to succeed."

And unlike another politician from the east coast, Leach didn't take shots at Colorado's residents. "It was also clear that Colorado has not turned into a state full of 'stoners,'" he maintains. "There is no noticeable change in productivity, absences from work or dropping out of school. If you didn't know marijuana was legal in Colorado, you wouldn't guess it from being out and about in the city."

The visit, which the Daily Reporter says was funded by the State of Pennsylvania, cost around $5,000 -- although the O.PenVape vape-pen he took a couple rips from was a gift from the company after he toured its facility, Leach's spokeswoman said.

Leach told Pennsylvania reporters he wanted to try the new technology to see how potent the hash was, but he only took two hits to "remain functional."

As Leach pointed out, the men and women in Colorado's cannabis industry would be criminals in his state. They would likely end up losing their businesses and end up in jail -- a fate he describe as "the true insanity of prohibition."

Leach wasn't the first Pennsylvania state senator interested in the pot business to visit Colorado. State Senator Mike Folmer came here earlier this summer to learn more about the industry, but he says he and his staff paid their own way and didn't partake.

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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell