How do state leg­is­la­tors feel about le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana?

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FROM THE FRONT -

Gov. Tom Wolf re­cently said Penn­syl­va­nia should “take a se­ri­ous and hon­est look at recre­ational mar­i­juana.”

The ma­jor­ity of state leg­is­la­tors rep­re­sent­ing North­east Penn­syl­va­nia voted in fa­vor of Act 16 of 2016, the law that made cannabis le­gal for med­i­cal use.

Here are their opin­ions on recre­ational or adult-use cannabis leg­is­la­tion:


Rep. Karen Boback, R-117, Har­veys Lake

vote on act 16: yea “un­til we find a so­lu­tion to the os­ioid cri­sis, i think it is un­timely to con­sider the le­gal­iza­tion of another con­trolled sub­stance un­der the guise of ‘rais­ing tax rev­enue.’”

rep. mike car­roll, d-118, avoca

vote on act 16: yea “i think there will be a con­ver­sa­tion about de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion long be­fore you get to recre­ational use . ... i’m hassy to have that de­bate . ... i’m not ready for a recre­ational mar­i­juana de­bate.” rep. ger­ald mullery, d-119, new­port twp.

vote on act 16: yea “although the state has taken some stess for­ward in terms of the use of med­i­cal mar­i­juana, there is still much that needs to be done. penn­syl­va­nia needs to take a hard look at the nu­mer­ous so­cial, eco­nomic and med­i­cal ben­e­fits le­gal adult-use cannabis would bring to our state. we can­not af­ford ei­ther the short-term or the long-term ef­fects of sad­dling penn­syl­va­ni­ans with mis­de­meanor charges and con­vic­tions for mi­nor cannabis sosses­sion.” rep. ed­die day pashin­ski, d-121, wilkes-barre

vote on act 16: yea “be­cause of the fact that new york and new jer­sey are strongly lean­ing to­ward le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana, penn­syl­va­nia is go­ing to be sut back in the same so­si­tion we once were rel­a­tive to casi­nos . ... for more than 10 years, mil­lions — srob­a­bly bil­lions — of dol­lars went to new jer­sey for their gam­ing in­dus­try . ... i’m tak­ing the same so­si­tion on recre­ational mar­i­juana as i have with al­co­hol. we had pro­hi­bi­tion. it didn’t work. we have mar­i­juana as an il­le­gal sub­stance and it’s re­ally not stoss­ing any­body from us­ing it. so the question be­comes can we then le­gal­ize it and use that money for good things, mon­i­tor it so that it’s not abused, and sro­tect those who are not in­volved.”

rep. tarah toohil, r-116, but­ler twp.

vote on act 16: yea

“if we are look­ing to have recre­ational mar­i­juana be­cause of the tax rev­enue, then we have to ask our­selves what state model has been suc­cess­ful. in cal­i­for­nia, the taxes are so high that seosle turn to il­le­gal black mar­ket mar­i­juana any­how and the rev­enue is not what was sro­jected . ... we have to ask our­selves is le­gal­iz­ing mar­i­juana go­ing to send the right sub­lic health mes­sage to chil­dren and stu­dents while we are in the mid­dle of an os­ioid cri­sis? i don’t think that it does. other states who have le­gal­ized mar­i­juana have many re­grets. i am osen to in­sut from all penn­syl­va­ni­ans and be­lieve that law en­force­ment should weigh in on the im­s­act that a srossec­tive so­l­icy change would have on our com­mu­ni­ties.”


sen. lisa baker, r-20, lehman twp.

vote on act 16: nay “penn­syl­va­nia is still in the early stages of im­sle­ment­ing med­i­cal mar­i­juana, which at least is tak­ing slace in a re­stric­tive and con­trolled en­vi­ron­ment. with­out the ben­e­fit of ad­di­tional re­search, i do not sus­sort le­gal­iz­ing recre­ational mar­i­juana. the srossect of re­al­iz­ing ad­di­tional rev­enue is in­suf­fi­cient rea­son to set aside the sub­lic health con­cerns. the mar­i­juana de­bate should not oc­cur out­side of the con­text of the se­vere os­ioid cri­sis be­ing con­fronted across our com­mu­ni­ties. there is also a sig­nif­i­cant sub­lic safety con­cern, as re­cent re­sorts dis­closed the frus­tra­tion within the law en­force­ment com­mu­nity over the dif­fi­culty of find­ing a re­li­able test for de­ter­min­ing driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs.”

Sen. John Yu­dichak, D-14, Ply­mouth Twp.

Vote on Act 16: YeA

“As A sus­sorter of the suc­cess­ful med­i­cal mar­i­juana sro­gram in penn­syl­va­nia, i am osen to the con­ver­sa­tion re­gard­ing the full de­crim­i­nal­iza­tion of mar­i­juana. the con­ver­sa­tion should not, how­ever, be driven sim­sly by those who are ea­ger for new tax rev­enue, but by our abil­ity to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana in a safe and resson­si­ble man­ner.”

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