Marijuana legalization proposal like Colorado's coming to Pennsylvania: More states to follow?
Following Amendment 64's passage, marijuana reformers have pushed for similar measures beyond Colorado's borders -- the idea being that if cannabis is legalized in more states, the federal government will have to change policies making pot illegal under all circumstances. That's precisely what's happening today in Pennsylvania: Moments from now, a press conference is scheduled to introduce legislation that's likely to use A64 as a template.
In its press release announcing the news event, expected to get underway at 2 p.m. Eastern/noon Mountain time today at the Capitol building in Harrisburg, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a major player in the Colorado campaign, touts the "introduction of Pennsylvania legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol."
For those who've already forgotten, Amendment 64's proponents dubbed it the "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act."
The sponsor of the bill is Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach, whose website says he "has been vocal about the benefits Pennsylvanians could reap by legalizing marijuana, most notably by bringing in much-needed tax revenue, providing a legal treatment alternative to patients suffering from terminal illness and finally ending a prohibition on a natural substance that causes no harm and cannot become the source of an addiction."
Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach, center.
Yes, each of these themes was struck on behalf of Amendment 64 -- and the connection is further enhanced by the LEAP release, which explicitly points to Colorado and Washington state, which passed a similar measure. Here's an excerpt from the missive, on view below in its entirety:
In November, voters in Washington State and Colorado voted to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Legislators in other states have announced plans to introduce similar legislation in their states. Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach is introducing a bill to tax and regulate marijuana in Pennsylvania. Senator Leach believes that ending marijuana prohibition will raise revenue for Pennsylvania and bring an end to a failed policy of prohibition. "This past November, the people of Washington State and Colorado voted to fully legalize marijuana," said Leach. "It is time for Pennsylvania to be a leader in jettisoning this modern-day prohibition, and ending a policy that has been destructive, costly and anti-scientific."Appearing with Leach at the press conference is Dr. David Nathan, a clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Princeton, New Jersey, and a familiar face to Colorado voters, Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore cop who's now LEAP's executive director.
Click to read Westword's profile of Franklin.
We can't directly compare Leach's proposal to Amendment 64 quite yet; LEAP spokesman Tom Angell tells us it's still in the drafting process, although it should receive a numerical designation and be available for public perusal soon. Still, it's clear that marijuana legalization efforts across the country will at least look to Amendment 64 for guidance, if not mirror its language precisely.
Continue to see the complete LEAP release.