Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jun 2013
Source: Daily American (Somerset, PA)
Copyright: 2013 The Daily American
Author: Daylin Leach


Recently, the Daily American printed the editorial "Not Worth It,"
arguing against Senate Bill 528, which would legalize, tax and
regulate marijuana in Pennsylvania. Respectfully, many of the claims
offered in that opinion piece simply don't hold water. Here's why.

First, as the NAACP noted in its support of my legislation and
referenced in the recently released ACLU study, the war on drugs is
racially-biased, inefficient and ineffective. As stated in the report,
African Americans in Pennsylvania are more than 5 times more likely to
be arrested for possession than Caucasians, despite equal usage rates.
In Somerset County, African Americans are 9.4 times more likely to be

In 2010, Pennsylvania spent more than $100 million enforcing marijuana
possession laws even though marijuana arrests only accounted for 37
percent of drug arrests. That is a lot of taxpayer money being spent
to arrest a small number of people using a drug that has been found
less harmful than both alcohol and tobacco.

You mentioned in your article that higher prices will keep illegal
drug use rates down, but you neglected to note the issue of safety.
Currently, where must people go to buy marijuana? They must use back
alley channels and purchase it from dealers who may have altered the
substance or could try to persuade buyers to upgrade to another drug
that may be dangerous and addictive.

If the sale of marijuana was regulated, users could obtain it in
small, safe amounts deemed appropriate by the state. Much like
visiting the state store to buy liquor, marijuana smokers could
purchase what they needed without endangering themselves in the process.

To be clear, it will still be illegal under my bill to drive while
under the influence of marijuana, to disrupt the peace while publicly
intoxicated and to sell marijuana to minors. This legislation will
simply legalize and regulate a product against which our state is
waging an unnecessary war, incarcerating people unfairly and wasting
millions of dollars in the process. The time to end this modern day
prohibition is now.

State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-17

Montgomery and Delaware counties
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