Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Legalize Marijuana in Pennsylvania

Legalize Marijuana in Pennsylvania
Twelve years ago I made a proposal that to many people seemed crazy and out of touch.  I proposed the legalization of marijuana, allowing Pennsylvania farmers to grow it, the Commonwealth to regulate it and the state's Wine and Spirts Shoppes to sell it (bringing new meaning to the word “Spirits”).

Now, the idea is so mainstream that it marijuana in legal in Colorado and Washington state.  And it has been introduced as legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate. State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) has legislation that will allow marijuana to be grown and sold legally in PA.

“The modern prohibition of marijuana does a disservice to Pennsylvania by tying up our resources in the prosecution of its users; by depriving us of the revenue that this marijuana could generate; and by denying the Pennsylvanians suffering from terminal illnesses access to a natural medicine that could take away their pain,” Leach said. “It’s time we legalize marijuana and reap the benefits it has to offer.”

What benefits could we reap?
·      Money to balance the state budget. Based on national figures, there is at least $3.4 billion in illegal sales of marijuana in PA each year.  If we legalized it and taxed it at 6% it would generate $200 million.  If we sold it in the State Wine and Spirit Shoppes, we could generate another $680 million with a 20% markup.
·      Fewer people in prison, lower costs for taxpayers. Approximately 25,000 citizens are arrested annually in Pennsylvania for marijuana-related offenses, at a cost of some $325 million dollars.
·      Legal access to a widely used medicine.  Marijuana has legitimate medicinal uses and should be available to those who need it without risking arrest or dealing with underworld criminals.
·      A lucrative cash crop for PA farmers.  Those who choose to grow marijuana will have a crop that can reap great profits.
·      An end to organized crime dealing in marijuana.  Marijuana is the number money-maker for organized crime.  Legalizing ends their participation in its trafficking and the associated violence.

And that’s just the beginning.

It’s time to end the hypocrisy, help to balance our state budget and end the 21st century version of Prohibition.

Please join us by signing our petition to Legalize It!

In Solidarity, 
Michael Morrill
Keystone Progress

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