Although several states have legalized the use and possession of marijuana under certain conditions, pot is still illegal in Pennsylvania. This means folks in Bucks County and throughout the entire state may still face serious legal consequences if they are caught with marijuana.
Despite marijuana being illegal throughout most of the U.S., there are still many Americans who use marijuana. In Pennsylvania alone, more than 24,000 people were arrested in 2006 for marijuana-related crimes. The Office of National Drug Control Policy claims that taxpayers paid about $325.36 million for these arrests and other costs associated with the alleged drug crimes.
With thousands of people being arrested and millions being spent on marijuana-related arrests each year in the state, citizens and lawmakers have often considered whether it would be better to just legalize marijuana and regulate the substance like alcohol in order to avoid wasting taxpayers’ dollars and law enforcement officers’ time and efforts. Although it may be awhile yet before Pennsylvania even considers legalizing marijuana, one lawmaker has recently stated that he plans to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana in the state.
Democrat State Sen. Daylin Leach announced that he plans to introduce a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana in Pennsylvania. The bill would only make it legal for residents who are 21 or older to possess and smoke marijuana. The lawmaker said that he believes legalizing marijuana will not only allow folks to purchase safer forms of the substance, but it could also reduce wasteful spending of taxpayers’ dollars.
If the bill is ever passed, residents could still face criminal charges for marijuana-related offenses. For example, folks could face criminal charges for driving under the influence of marijuana or for selling marijuana to those who are under the age of 21. It will certainly be interesting to see what comes of the lawmaker’s plans to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. We will be sure to revisit this topic on our blog when more developments occur.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh, “Pa. Senator Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana,” Jan. 10, 2013
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