HARRISBURG -- John Hanger, one of a host of Democratic candidates for Governor, said today he would reform Pennsylvania's marijuana laws through a three-part plan.
Mr. Hanger's proposal?
1. Start by allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for certain medical conditions.
2. By 2015, remove criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana, making it a summary offense (similar to a traffic ticket)
3. After evaluating the state's experience (and what happens in other states such as Colorado and Washington, which voted last year to decriminalize the drug), remove penalties for using marijuana and regulate and tax it
"People know what we're doing now isn't working," said Mr. Hanger, speaking at a press conference in the Capitol this morning. The state spends $325 million annually processing non-violent drug offenders through the criminal justice system, said Mr. Hanger, citing statistics from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states and Washington, D.C. allow for medical marijuana; Colorado and Washington have the most liberal pot laws, allowing for recreational use.