Tax and Regulate

Penn. lt. governor's legalization listening tour kicks off today

If you live in Pennsylvania, write your state lawmakers to ask them to support regulating — not prohibiting — cannabis for adults' use.

In the past two months, the conversation about whether Pennsylvania should legalize and regulate marijuana for adults has picked up steam.

In December, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said the state should take a "serious and honest look" at legalization. Then, in January, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman announced a statewide listening tour on legalization that begins today in Harrisburg.

The first stops on his tour are:

Harrisburg, Dauphin County
Tonight, Monday, February 11, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg, 3301 N. Front Street

Newport, Perry County
Tomorrow, Tuesday, February 12, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Newport Public Library, 316 N. 4th Street

Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
Wednesday, February 13, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.
American Legion Post 109, 224 W. Main Street

Erie
Saturday, February 16, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Jefferson Educational Society, 3207 State Street

Warren
Saturday, February 16, 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Warren Public Library, Slater Room

Stay tuned for more stops: The lieutenant governor plans to visit all 67 counties on his tour. You can also check out stops on his Facebook page.

Before you attend, check out our background materials — such as the top 10 reasons to regulate cannabis and a snapshot of how things are going in Colorado and Washington six years into legalization. You can draw from our materials as you make the case for a more humane approach to cannabis.

In other exciting news, Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) and 26 cosponsors introduced a bill to relegate cannabis prohibition to the dustbin of history. Change will not happen overnight, given the opposition of legislative leaders. But with time and effort, we can end prohibition in the Keystone State.

So make your voice heard: Write your lawmakers in support of legalizing and regulating cannabis, and plan to speak out during the statewide listening tour. And don't forget to spread the word to other thoughtful Pennsylvanians.

Sincerely,

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Prohibition

Erie City Council Votes Unanimously to Decriminalize Possession

Last week, the Erie, Pennsylvania, City Council voted unanimously to make the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana into a summary offense with a $25 fine. Currently, the penalty is up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both. The mayor is expected to sign the measure into law.

Once enacted, Erie will join Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, and State College — and 22 states and the District of Columbia — all of which have stopped jailing individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Across the state, towns and cities are considering similar commonsense policies. Unfortunately, however, law enforcement can still enforce state law and impose criminal penalties and possible jail time.

Imprisoning individuals for possessing small amounts of a substance that is safer than alcohol wastes valuable resources and can lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences, including denial of student financial aid, housing, employment, and professional licenses.

To get involved locally, contact the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. You can find some background materials on decriminalization here. And please let your lawmakers know it is time for statewide decriminalization.

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Prohibition

Another Pennsylvania City Decriminalizes Possession

Early this week in Pennsylvania, the York City Council voted to make the possession of small amounts of marijuana a summary offense with a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time. Previously, it was a criminal misdemeanor that carried up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.

Imprisoning individuals for possessing small amounts of a substance that is safer than alcohol wastes valuable resources and can lead to a lifetime of harsh consequences, including denial of student financial aid, housing, employment, and professional licenses.

York joins Pennsylvania’s three largest cities — Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg — and twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, which have stopped jailing individuals for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Across the state, towns and cities are considering similar commonsense policies. The time has come for statewide decriminalization.

To get involved locally, contact the Keystone Cannabis Coalition. You can find some background materials on decriminalization here.

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Medical Marijuana

Pressure Mounts for Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill

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Last Thursday, former TV talk show host Montel Williams joined seriously ill Pennsylvanians and their loved ones in making an emotional plea for the House to follow the Senate’s lead and approve medical cannabis legislation.

Now, it’s time to raise YOUR voice. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, please call or email your representative today to ask the House to stop playing politics with patients’ lives.

House Health Committee Chair Matthew Baker has made it clear he has no plans to release SB 3 from his committee. Even if he doesn’t relent, there are several other ways to get a bill to a floor vote without passing through the Health Committee.

Pennsylvania patients have waited far too long for relief. Since the state began seriously considering medical cannabis legislation in 2009, 11 more states have enacted similar bills, bringing the number of compassionate states to 23. Yet Pennsylvania patients continue to needlessly suffer, risk arrest and prosecution, or be forced to uproot and move across the country to a more compassionate state.

To hear some of the heartbreaking stories of patients who are counting on the House to act, you can watch CBS 21’s entire 90-minute town hall here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

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