Pubdate: Sun, 24 Feb 2013
Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Copyright: 2013 The Daily Times
Author: Michael Alan Goldberg
Page: 10


As anticipated, state Sen. Daylin Leach, D- 17, of Upper Merion, has
unveiled the full text of his controversial marijuana legalization
bill, called the "Regulate Marijuana Act" in the current session of
the Pennsylvania General Assembly, according to a Leach

Senate Bill 528 states that "in the interest of the efficient use of
law enforcement resources, enhancing revenue for public purposes and
individual freedom, the people of this Commonwealth find and declare
that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons 21 years of age
or older and taxed."

Under the proposed legislation, it would no longer be illegal for a
person age 21 or older to possess, grow, process or transport up to
six marijuana plants ( with three or fewer being mature, flowering
plants) and possess the marijuana produced by those plants where they
were grown, "provided that the growing takes place in an enclosed,
locked space, is not conducted openly or publicly, and is not made
available for sale.

Additionally, the transfer of up to 1 ounce of marijuana, without
remuneration, for those 21 or older would be permitted.

The bill would establish a system of lawful marijuana cultivation,
harvesting, processing, testing and retail sales facilities to be
overseen by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which would be in
charge of granting, issuing, suspending and revoking all the licenses
and permits required to own and operate such facilities.

The bill sets no maximum limit on the amount of marijuana that could
be purchased from a properly licensed retail facility. A Leach
spokesperson said the bill gives the PLCB the authority to set such a
limit, if it so chooses.

According to the bill, the PLCB would be responsible for buying or
importing marijuana for sale, subject to the approval of the state
treasurer, and "shall buy marijuana and marijuana products at the
lowest price and in the greatest variety reasonably

The PLCB would be tasked with controlling "the manufacture,
possession, sale, consumption, importation, use, storage,
transportation and delivery of marijuana ... and to fix the wholesale
and retail prices at which marijuana and marijuana products will be
sold at retail marijuana stores," the bill states. "Marijuana
products" are comprised of marijuana and other ingredients, and
include edible items, ointments and tinctures.

It would be up to the PLCB to determine the municipalities and
specific locations within those municipalities where marijuana-
related facilities would be established and, through the Department of
General Services, to "lease and furnish and equip buildings, rooms and
other accommodations as required."

The agency would also be mandated to set all application, licensing
and renewal fees; establish security requirements for marijuana
related facilities, as well as the labeling and health and safety
requirements and standards; and determine any restrictions on the
advertising and display of marijuana and marijuana products.

In terms of taxation, the bill calls for the General Assembly to
"enact an excise tax to be levied upon marijuana sold or otherwise
transferred by a marijuana cultivation facility to a marijuana product
manufacturing facility or to a retail marijuana store" and to "direct
the Department of Revenue to establish procedures for the collection
of the tax levied."

The bill would not require employers to "permit State Sen. Daylin
Leach, D- 17, of Upper Merion, is promoting a bill that would legalize
marijuana in Pennsylvania. or accommodate the use, consumption,
possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of
marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to
have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees in the

However, employers would not be allowed to discipline or terminate
employees if marijuana is detected during random drug tests.

The bill sets a timetable of no later than July 1, 2014, for the PLCB
to adopt the regulations necessary for the establishment of marijuana-
related facilities, and Oct. 1, 2014, to begin accepting and
processing applications for annual licenses to operate such facilities.

The bill does not address any legal issues involving individuals who
have already been charged with violating the marijuana laws that would
be eliminated by the passage of Leach's proposed legislation.

Leach has acknowledged he faces an uphill battle in the Senate to see
his bill become law. Gov. Tom Corbett has been vocal about his
objections to any marijuana legalization efforts in

In November, Colorado and Washington state passed historic marijuana
legalization laws similar to Leach's bill.

Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes are also
currently under way in Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island and Hawaii.
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MAP posted-by: Matt