Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jun 2013
Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Contact:  2013 The Daily Times
Author: Danielle Lynch


A bill that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana has received 
the support of the NAACP following a report recently issued by the 
American Civil Liberties Union.

David Scott, chairman of the legal redress committee of the 
Cheltenham Area Branch NAACP, joined the bill's prime sponsor, State 
Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17, of Upper Merion, at a news conference about 
the legislation in Harrisburg on Tuesday morning.

"This is a major issue," said Neill Franklin, executive director of 
the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, who also was at the news 
conference. "The federal government reports that 60-70 percent of 
profits from illegal drug trade come from marijuana."

The June 2013 NAACP report, titled "The War on Marijuana in Black and 
White," stated there were more than 8 million marijuana arrests in 
the United States between 2001 and 2010. It costs about $3.6 billion 
per year to enforce marijuana laws, but the use and availability of 
marijuana has not been diminished, according to the report.

Marijuana use is about equal among blacks and whites, yet blacks are 
3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, 
according to the NAACP report.

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.

Senate Bill 528 was referred to the Senate Law and Justice Committee 
on April 3. Leach's bill currently has two co-sponsors.

Leach said he doesn't expect the Senate to vote on the bill between 
now and the June 30 state budget deadline. But he does plan to push 
the legislation again when legislators return to Harrisburg in the fall.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom