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Pennsylvania Marijuana Activists Continue to Push the Issue

  • by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator April 24, 2017

    15134788_1361964283815279_7643241837130367190_nHundreds of marijuana law reform advocates from across Pennsylvania gathered last week at the state capitol to express their support for marijuana legalization and also to express concerns regarding the future of the state’s limited medical cannabis program. The event was coordinated by local reform groups Pittsburgh NORML, Philly NORML, and the Keystone Cannabis Coalition to raise awareness about marijuana laws in the Commonwealth.

    “On Wednesday dedicated activists from across the Commonwealth gathered in Harrisburg, our state capitol, to demand the end of criminal prohibition for cannabis possession,” said Patrick Nightingale, executive director of Pittsburgh NORML. “Speakers decried the waste of law enforcement resources while the Commonwealth is in the midst of a true opioid crisis.”

    Pennsylvania’s Auditor General Eugene DePasquale kicked of the event with a powerful speech that electrified the hundreds of pro-legalization activists who gathered in the capitol rotunda. In addition to highlighting the many failures of marijuana prohibition, AG DePasquale also encouraged state lawmakers to consider options for a statewide solution such as decriminalization or outright legalization.

    “We have a real and legitimate political voice in Harrisburg. Gone are the days of closed doors and whispered insults,” said Nightingale. “Now more and more of our elected leaders know that we are on the right side of history and that the ruinous and racist legacy of cannabis prohibition must end.”

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    While local governments in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg have each approved measures to reduce the penalty for personal possession of marijuana from jail time to a simple fine, state lawmakers have been more apprehensive on the issue. But advocates are hopeful things will change as the conversation advances.

    “While PA’s conservative legislature may not be prepared to make the jump to full legalization, there is growing bipartisan support for statewide decriminalization with a Republican sponsored bill headed to Committee on Monday,” added Nightingale.

    TAKE ACTION: Contact Pennsylvania lawmakers and urge them to support House Bill 928 by clicking here!

    Read more here: http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news/auditor-general-speaks-at-harrisburg-marijuana-rally-in-support-of/article_a546ae06-2605-11e7-93c5-177c718a0193.html

    For future updates on marijuana law reform efforts in Pennsylvania, follow Pittsburgh NORML by visiting their website and Facebook page!

    11 Responses to “Pennsylvania Marijuana Activists Continue to Push the Issue”

    1. TheOracle says:

      Too bad the Pennsylvania legislature is controlled by prohibitionist Republicans. That’s why Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law is about as shitty as they come, serving only a small percentage of patients who could benefit from MMJ if the law were not so restrictive.

      The state’s Republicans are doing their part to ensure adult recreational is legalized in the Commonwealth by driving the state’s budget even further into the ground. Slash this, cut that, reform the state employees’ pension benefits, but not their own pension benefits.

      Soon Pennsylvania will not be able to do without the cannabis revenues. Rs think they can expand gambling. They aren’t worried about people addicted to gambling, but they are oh so worried about people getting addicted to cannabis. They want to privatize the state-run liquor system in Pennsylvania to make alcoholic beverages easier to buy at supermarkets and other food retailers, and they’re not worried about alcohol addiction, but when it comes to cannabis they’re all concerned. They’re not educating themselves, so someone needs to point out that cannabis is not nearly as addictive as alcohol. As for comparing cannabis to gambling, I find it hard to believe someone is going to spend their entire retirement money and savings on cannabis like old folks are losing like crazy in the casinos.

      • TheOracle says:

        The Republicans reflect money and power of people who vote and fund the candidates. If cannabis users choose not to vote and not to donate to people who would be good pro-cannabis candidates, then we are waiting for the older people who are against it to die off and increase those in favor of full legalization.

        Trumpies in Pennsylvania can’t all be employed in the coal industry. Cannabis jobs start you off at much more than the minimum wage, then folks got jobs and they can stop hitting up their older relatives for money, you know, for some of their retirement nest eggs. Speed up the medical marijuana in the state for the desensitization of the opposition to legalization. A myth-busting public service pro-cannabis campaign on TV, radio and in print is what is needed but that costs money. Free and cheap ways to get it in the news is these folks from BIG FUCKING WEED provide their damn carpetbagger money to fund it all, cause they are cashing in. Can’t buy the bud, can’t grow your own, gotta buy their cannabis cartridges to vape.

        Rank

        State

        Percentage of population over 65 years old

        1 Florida 19.06 %
        2 Maine 18.24 %
        3 West Virginia 17.78 %
        4 Vermont 17.02 %
        5 Pennsylvania 16.69 %

        http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-us-states-with-the-oldest-population.html

    2. Surekill Expressway says:

      Remember all those polls which say the majority of Americans favor legalization? Well, we found out how messed up polls were in the November 2016 election. ’nuff said on that!

      Apparently the reality of the situation is that MJ is not favored by a majority of Keystone Staters at this time or else the legislature would reflect that majority. At this time the first order of business must be to rally public support since it is the public which votes the legislators into office. The ones who are currently in win election with their policies so why should they change their stance? Until those stances cost them elections, their incentive to make a change is nonexistent.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Don’t be an idiot. The people don’t want to be arrested for pot. The people want marijuana prohibition to end. But Corporate America doesn’t want it legal, and they pay for the fascist Republican campaigns of politicians. Right now it’s entirely Republicans fault.

    3. TheOracle says:

      Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney says the state should legalize adult recreational. He’s a Democrat, and the legislature is controlled by rabid prohibitionist Republicans, many of whom will tell you in private that they favor legalization but are just waiting for the critical mass percentage of older residents who are against it basically to die off. The percentage of Pennsylvania voters who want cannabis legalized will rise by attrition. That’s the Republican strategy, that and driving the state’s economy into the ground even more so that the financial crises get even worse, which will virtually guarantee the stage is set for legalization. If the feds would leave it up to the states, then Pennsylvania would legalize all the faster, that obstacle of opposition out of the way.

      http://hightimes.com/news/philadelphia-mayor-says-state-should-legalize-marijuana/

    4. Julian says:

      One problem is too many marijuana-educated Democrats live in the cities and theres not enough cannabis education in the country where Republican’ts have dominated local elections.
      One way to remedy that is getting involved in farmers markets, local festivals and town halls and providing free education (and free weed). The upcoming Hemp History Week organized by the HIA and http://www.votehemp.com is an excellent way to link people to their state legislatures through NORML.
      The other problem is voter supression of Democratic votes, like the Crossheck Program and gerrymandering. Thats where we have to support lawsuits against voter supression from pro Democratic pro marijuana platforms. A 3 judge panel is already making headway on correcting discriminatory redistricting for Texans in San Antonio.
      https://www.texastribune.org/2017/04/25/redistricting-hearing-could-shed-light-2018-election-cycles/
      Some judges in Phili could do the same for PA. If we dont do something to help rural America reclaim our American hemp heritage and join our fight for our right to grow cannabis were going to keep getting ineffective laws and pushback to take back or at least delay our gains in effective marijuana policy. Bring up hemp’s capacity for reforestation of damaged properties from mining, fertilization, supplemental nutrition for leaner beef cattle, protein and fiber; how about building materials from home-grown hemp now that Forest-Trump just hit Canadian lumber with a %20 tarrif? Tell’m “You want America first?” Better find something to build it with that grows quick and sustains the land with less pesticide, herbicide, petroleum based fertilizers or erosion from water run off. Cuz Trump just made home building more expensive and American trees in short supply.

    5. The Aparent Outsider says:

      It’s well established less than 100 days in that Trump is clearly unfit for the office he holds. It’s time for impeachment, marijuana legalization can wait, it’s time to begin the impeachment process for the numerous conflicts of interest, his rubber stamping approval of Nunez flat out lieing to the American people, not to mention all of HIS campaigns RUSSIA connections, this is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE! Now his tax plans that benefit ONLY the top 1%. He is doing the complete opposite of what he campaigned on, his voters and supporters look like idiots! I cannot take any republican seriously, this moron was the best option from that group….pretty fucking sad, funny as shit watching you all squirm every time Trump takes the podium though, as he sharpens his stick to poke you in the eye…. I wonder what useless executive order he’ll sign next…restrictions gun rights…mandatory government golfing tournaments of which looser are forced to resign…

    6. TheOracle says:

      Maybe one of Trump’s kids will want to make a ton of money selling cannabis kofieshop franchises, owning the real estate they are in and Kaching $ legalization happens. Trumps l o v e money. Mnuchin, tell Trump to legalize.

      https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/trump-business-hosting-cannabis-real-estate-seminar

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        That’s not good enough. The legalization movement cannot trade victims with Trump, allowing him to crackdown on non-whites in exchange for high-end yuppie dispensaries. Legal marijuana is not a class privilege — it’s a right to medicine, for all human beings, not just those with money.

        • TheOracle says:

          I agree. That’s the way the shitty MMJ law in states like Pennsylvania are written. It’s one big sell-out to BIG WEED. You are Not allowed to grow your own, and the prices of the permits and the what you have to have in reserve runs in the millions of dollars. Yeah man, tell me about it. Still no recreational on the horizon here in Pennsylvania, despite what Daylin Leach and Mike Folmer would like to see.

          • Mark Mitcham says:

            I see your point.
            That’s why the right to grow your own is so important, even for those who wouldn’t or couldn’t actually grow it for themselves. If it (legalization) doesn’t stop the arrests, and if urban and minority users are still being arrested for weed, then it’s not legalization — just more white class privilege. We oppose that.

            As I learned years ago from MPP, marijuana is not the issue — the issue is marijuana prohibition.

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