Time to Toke? The battle over recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania

By Roger DuPuis - [email protected]
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Already, nine states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational possession of marijuana, while 12 more states have decriminalized it, typically for small amounts — as have some cities around the country, including here in Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Harrisburg, York, State College, Allentown and Bethlehem.

Is it time for the state to follow suit?

Advocates say legalization would help pump hundreds of millions of dollars into cash-strapped state coffers, while ending the expensive pursuit of criminal charges against non-violent defendants.

At the same time, marijuana’s continued status as a federal Schedule I drug means users — including medical cannabis patients — could still be subject to prosecution if Washington decides to crack down, as current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has hinted he might consider.

Still others argue that marijuana can cause lung diseases and other medical problems, and they argue against its use.

In a four-part series and column this week, the Times Leader spoke with advocates, elected officials and health experts about what legalizing recreational marijuana could mean for Pennsylvania. Click the links below to read each story.

• DAY 1: Recreational marijuana battle pits advocates against law, government

• DAY 2: Where do Pa. lawmakers stand on recreational marijuana?

• DAY 3: Assessing marijuana’s health impacts

• Day 4: Auditor General sees cash crop in recreational pot

• Column: Brigid Says: Time for Pennsylvania to take long look at legalizing pot

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By Roger DuPuis

[email protected]