On Tuesday, Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach announced plans to introduce a marijuana legalization initiative in the state. Working with Leach are two co-sponsors, Democrats from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Leach plans to introduce the bill within the next week for the 2013-14 legislative session.
In the 2011-12 legislative session Leach introduced a medical marijuana bill but it did not make it out of committee. Of his push toward legalization, Leach explained, “It’s tough in the short-term. It’s inevitable in the long-term. Because of demographics and exposure to other states, the opposition to this is going to melt away very quickly. We’ve already reached the tipping point.”
Republican Governor Tom Corbett does not believe legalization in PA is inevitable, however. In the past he has made it clear that he would veto any marijuana legalization bill, even one for medical marijuana. His spokesman, Kevin Harley, told the press, “He believes that smoking marijuana is a crime, should remain a crime and that marijuana is a gateway drug.”
Under Leach’s bill, marijuana would be available to possess, purchase, and consume for individuals age 21 and over. People could legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six plants of their own. As for sales, Leach explained that, “At least initially, it would be sold at state liquor stores and beer distributors.”
Leach admitted to having smoked marijuana in high school in the ’70s, but says he is a vegetarian and an athlete who does not smoke and rarely drinks.