Pubdate: Fri, 19 Jan 2018
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2018 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Chris Goldstein


When it comes to legalizing marijuana Congressman Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) 
is "one thousand percent on board."

When it comes to legalizing marijuana U.S Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Pa.) is
"one thousand percent on board," he told me by phone on Thursday afternoon.

Evans officially signed on to HR 1227 Wednesday, a bill that would
remove cannabis and hemp from federal drug scheduling completely.

"This is what the people want in the state," said Evans.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act is sponsored by Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard, a rising Democrat from Hawaii, and Rep. Tom Garrett, a
more libertarian-styled Republican from Virginia.

Evans said the recent announcement from the Department of Justice on
cannabis enforcement helped move him to co-sponsor the reform bill. "I
feel like the Attorney General [Jeff Sessions] is going in the wrong
direction. To me, he is playing petty politics because of the Obama
administration and this is inconsistent with what people in the states

Pennsylvania has legalized non-smoked forms of medical cannabis, has a
thriving industrial hemp program and its large cities -- such as
Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh -- are decriminalizing possession.

"First, I think I have different view because I served in the state
legislature and I voted for the medical marijuana bill," Evans
explained, "Second, I have long believed [marijuana] should be
decriminalized because that is what Mayor Jim Kenney did in the city
of Philadelphia, particularity because we were targeting African
American males [for arrests]. Last, I think that the whole aspect of
moving in the direction of recreational marijuana is something that we
should do because there are many opportunities in that."

HR 1227 currently has 22 cosponsors and Evans is the first member of
Congress from the tri-state area to join the bill.

"I think Pennsylvania is poised to see some real change and I will be
a strong advocate for this to happen," said Evans.

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Chris Goldstein is a cannabis consumer advocate and writer. He formerly 
served on the Board of Directors at several NORML chapters, helped with 
Philadelphia decriminalization and now teaches the "Marijuana in the
News" class at Temple University. Contact: Twitter  or  ---
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