The legalization of marijuana remains a controversial topic in many states, yet its use in Pennsylvania seems to be taking on a supportive trend this week after being backed by a local branch of the NAACP. A new bill in support of marijuana legalization — Senate Bill 528 — would also allow the use and production of weed by people over 21, the Inquisitr reported this Saturday, June 29. A recent report also found that the effects of the “war on drugs” has been most detrimental to people of color, added one NAACP official.
Marijuana legalization has been brought back into the spotlight recently following Senate Bill 528 being discussed by Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach. The bill would enable people who are over 21 years of age to possess, use, and produce their own marijuana (in small to moderate amounts) without fine.
The discussion of race and color has also been brought up in the realm of using marijuana. A June 2013 report by the NAACP called, “The War on Marijuana in Black and White”, focused on specific marijuana usage rates and charges filed against both black and white men and women. Similarly, it noted that over 3 billion dollars are spent each and every year to uphold marijuana laws — money that the NAACP feels could be put to better use after the legalization of the drug has passed.
Senate Bill 528 has allegedly been submitted to the state health committee for review, though it remains unknown whether marijuana legalization in the state (let alone the U.S.) could be a possibility.
“We spend $350 million a year in Pennsylvania just on the arrest, incarceration and monitoring of people for marijuana-related offenses,” said Senator Leach. “We can save all of that if we ended prohibition. Plus, we could tax this and gain revenue.”
David Scott, a high standing member of the NAACP, also said:
“The war on drugs is a catastrophic failure particularly on people of color … So much money and resources have been spent on the war on drugs while there is an alarming while there is a lack of funds for Philadelphia and school systems in general. An ACLU report estimated in just 2010, one year, one hundred million dollars was taken from Pennsylvania taxpayers just to enforce marijuana possession.”
Earlier this June, Vermont passed another marijuana legalization law that would diminish the crime of being caught with an ounce of pot or less from a criminal offense and instead be charged with a fine.
What’s your take on the marijuana legalization story?