Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf thinks it’s time the state decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, as arrests for possession can ruin families and lives, Pittsburgh’s WTAE reported Monday.
Some Pennsylvania cities have already moved to decriminalize small amounts of the drug, and Wolf thinks decriminalization should be statewide.
“There are too many people who are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts or carry modest amounts of marijuana, and that is clogging up our prisons,” Wolf told a local radio station during an interview. “[I]t’s destroying families and it’s hurting our economy, so I think decriminalization is the first step.”
“That’s far from clogging up our jails,” Marsico told WTAE. “[B]asically nobody goes to jail for possession of a joint.”
WTAE noted the maximum time for a misdemeanor possession charge is 30 days, and that prosecutors generally work to avoid sending guilty parties to jail at all.
While endorsing decriminalization, Wolf does not want to see marijuana fully legalized for recreational use.
“I’m not sure why we need to go beyond (decriminalization), and I think we can watch what happens in Colorado and Washington and Oregon and see what their experience is,” Wolf told WTAE.
So what has happened in states where pot is legal?
One argument from those who oppose legalization is it will create a rise in use among teens. In Colorado, which is the only state where it is legal and also has data on teen use, The Denver Post notes that use of pot among teens has stayed flat.
Likewise, Washington reports no change in teens access to the drug, Medical Xpress reported in an April article.
Oregon, which won’t have data about teen use until 2017, has seen an increase in drivers cited for driving under the influence (DUI) of marijuana, according to Oregon Live, but the article makes no mention of whether the drivers were involved in accidents, or merely cited.
Science Daily posted a study in 2015 done by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, which shows teen marijuana use is “significantly lower” than it was 15 year ago, despite its legalization in some states.
Marsico’s office did not return a phone call from The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Cross-posted from The Daily Caller.