NORML Interviews: PA State Senator and US Congressional Candidate Daylin Leach

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director April 29, 2014

    Senator Leach Talks Marijuana Policy with National NORML Comm. Director Erik Altieri and PhillyNORML Comm. Director Joe Forte

    Senator Leach Talks Marijuana Policy with National NORML Comm. Director Erik Altieri and PhillyNORML Comm. Director Joe Forte

    NORML recently interviewed Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach regarding marijuana law reform and the role it has played in state politics and his campaign. While serving in Harrisburg, Senator Leach introduced measures to legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes. In addition to currently serving in the state Senate, Daylin Leach is also a candidate in the Democratic primary to represent the Pennsylvania 13th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives (and had previously received the endorsement of NORML PAC).

    What personally made you embrace marijuana law reform?

    Senator Daylin Leach: My embrace for marijuana reform was based off of the pernicious and destructive laws currently in place. We live in a society where marijuana prohibition is putting a strain on our justice system that cannot continue, where sick children and adults are not getting the medicine they need, and where otherwise law-abiding citizens are losing their freedom for partaking in a “drug” that is so much less harmful than alcohol.

    Despite 58% of Americans supporting marijuana legalization, why do you think some politicians are still hesitant to support these important reforms?

    DL: Fear and lack of understanding Though the public is overwhelmingly supportive, understanding this support has not made its way up to many elected officials. They fear losing their next election and they do not understand what this polling means, how American sentiment on this issue has shifted.

    Only after they see other politicians running – and winning – on ending prohibition will they understand that the tide has truly turned.

    That is where NORML comes in, those of us who are running for Congress on this issue need your support so that we can show that this is not an issue to be afraid of, and that public support in polls is evident at the voting booth.

    What has the reception to your marijuana reform platform been like?

    DL: The reception from within the movement, from groups like NORML, has been fantastic.

    From voters and constituents, it has been gratitude that we are talking about finding an end to prohibition, that we are finding safe and legal ways for people to get the medicine that they need, and that we are bringing some common sense to the criminal justice system.

    The only push-back that I’ve gotten is from some of my fellow politicians who (as I stated in the earlier response) just don’t get it.

    What advice would you give to marijuana law reform supporters who are working to change laws and bring politicians over to their side?

    DL: Three words: win more elections.

    Whether it is through campaign contributions (every bit helps!), or volunteering to help make phone calls or knock on doors, we need everyone who cares about this issue to mobilize around elections. And once we start winning, the politicians will follow.

    If elected, what actions would you take to move away from our failed policy of marijuana prohibition?

    DL: Ideally, the federal government would end prohibition with a single piece of legislation, but realistically, we that won’t pass — yet.

    So, given the political realities, we need to push for more achievable goals. That is why, on taking office, I would add my name as a co-sponsor to HR 1635: the National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy Act; HR1523: the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act; and, most importantly, HR 2652: The Marijuana Business Access to Banking Act so that businesses conducting legal business transactions can do so with the same federal banking protections as every other business.

    It is winning incremental steps like these that will slowly push lawmakers toward our ultimate goal.

    Any final words for the NORML audience?

    DLNo other candidate in the Congressional election in PA-13 supports anything close to marijuana legalization, and no other candidate has even addressed it as part of their campaign. I have, and I am proud of that. But I can only get there with your help.

    My Congressional district covers parts of Philadelphia and is in the 4th most expensive media market in the country (behind only New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago). Our election is May 20th and to communicate our message we are currently spending $200,000 a week!

    We need you. Only by wining victories like my race will the issue and the movement progress forward. If you can make a contribution, thank you. If you can’t, sign up to phone bank (which you can do from anywhere in the country), and if you live near Philadelphia, stop by to help us knock doors.

    This campaign lives and dies by the grassroots efforts of our supporters, and we need you now!

    Thank you for all of your support.

    Stay tuned for more interviews with policymakers, politicians, candidates, and public figures in the near future here on NORML Blog. For more information about Daylin Leach you can click here. The Pennsylvania Democratic Primary will be held on May 20th of this year, click here to find your polling place and here. A map of the Pennsylvania 13th Congressional District is available here.

    19 Responses to “NORML Interviews: PA State Senator and US Congressional Candidate Daylin Leach”

    1. drew says:

      I will be voteing for him may 20th … Not only cause I love to smoke but I would love to see our roads bridges and schools benefit from the taxes that come from this … Our state needs this revenue .. And Tom needs to go down

    2. steven says:


    3. Ray says:

      @Julian-I loved your reading your report from the front lines. Vote Kinky!

      @TheOricle-Sounds like Tom Corbett is starting to accept that this plant has medicinal value. Problem is that children don’t vote so he may grab a few parent votes here and there but those are the same parents who believe in this plant. So if they believe in this plant then why would they vote for someone who is not willing to share?

    4. Julian says:

      Wow. I just read what the newly founded group MAMMA is about. Apparently, the mothers walking next to me today in the march with autistic children and baby carriages were a Christian group who are working with Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition and the Marijuana Policy Project to get legislation moving next year.
      The irony is I had another sign to my left, shielding my face to the sun and the mothers, that had a verse fron Mathew 25:39-40 on it:
      “Lord when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King answered, ‘Amen. I tell you, even for the least of these my brothers and sisters, what you did for them you did for me.'”
      The mothers walked next to me for quite a distance, reading the sign I suppose, as I blocked the sun.
      What I wonder is, did they see my hemp-flyer on the back that said “Vote for Democratic candidate for agricultural commissioner Kinky Friedman”?
      And then I wonder, after all the money poured into politics, does who we vote for matter as much to Americans as marijuana legalization initiatives?
      According to a Floridian I spoke with earlier this afternoon at the march, whoever supports marijuana reform will get his vote. I told him “good. Because Florida is going to tip the scale of prohibition.”

    5. Julian says:

      Have faith: take a look at the faces from Texas Norml after our march in Austin today. Every person from every ethnicity, socioeconomic class and health condition was represented in the march. Mothers with their autistic children, teens sneaking vapes, veterans with walking canes. It was very moving. I was there. And it was good. I made signs. Mine said “Control THIS substance: END prohibition NOW.”
      @Cheyanne, keep up the good work! You may have looked nervous before, but you were cool and clear with the mike in your hand. Thanks for representing Texans.
      Vote Kinky!

    6. Daylin Leach’s reasons for embracing reform appear more than practical. Medicine for the sick, the unnecessary strain on the justice system, and the incarceration of otherwise law-abiding citizens are reasons enough for reform. Well done sir, well done.

    7. TheOracle says:

      Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) has recently changed his position on refusing to sign any kind of marijuana legislation whatsoever. Up until recently, Corbett had vowed to veto any marijuana legislation that came across his desk, but trailing in the polls before re-election looming this fall he has said that he will allow CBD marijuana ONLY for children with seizures. He claims he changed his mind before being threatening with a sit-in at his office by medical marijuana moms and grandparents. The local television stations have been reporting that Corbett will allow it only at medical research hospitals by doctors who specialize in treating children with seizure disorders, AND THE ONLY 2 RESEARCH HOSPITALS HE’LL ALLOW IT IN ARE IN PITTSBURGH AND AT HERSHEY MEDICAL CENTER.

      Too bad if you have to travel too far to get to one of his pet hospitals.

      Philadelphia is heavily Democratic, so that explains why he is shitting on Philly research hospitals.

      It’s only for high CBD and extremely limit treatment of a very few disorders.

      Corbett is ignoring ALL OTHER forms of medical cannabis


      Short article to try to get Corbett to embrace all medical marijuana below:

      Senators: Corbett should go farther on marijuana

      Posted: Friday, May 2, 2014 6:23 pm

      Associated Press |

      HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The leading sponsors of medical marijuana legislation say Gov. Tom Corbett didn’t go far enough when he said he’d support the legalization of a marijuana extract to treat severe seizures in children.

      Sens. Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer wrote to Corbett on Friday to say they want to work with him on medical marijuana legislation that would help people, including adults, treat a wider range of illnesses. Corbett said Friday that he knows some people would like to see it broadly available, but his proposal is where he is willing to go.

      Even that may have trouble passing the state House.

      A spokesman for leaders of the House’s Republican majority says they’re concerned that federal law prohibits it and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it.

      Link to source article

    8. Mark I says:

      The education of the general population is hampered by the propaganda depicting cannabis consumers as somehow void of morals, disrespectful of authority, and financing terrorism, both domestic and foreign.

    9. Mac says:

      I can’t stress enough the help we need in pa, they just passed a law where police can search your car without a warrant!! Privacy rapists. Please help NORML!

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