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Pennsylvania Governor Wants to Decriminalize Cannabis Possession

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said that he supports the statewide decriminalization of personal amounts of cannabis during a “Smart Talk” radio interview on August 29th.

Gov. Wolf told interviewer Scott LaMar, “too many people are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts or carrying modest amounts of marijuana, and that is clogging up our prisons, it’s destroying families, and it’s hurting our economy.”

Decriminalization is the “first step” in solving those issues, the governor said. Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have already decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis — “I think we need to do that in a more systematic fashion,” said Wolf.

According to a Philadelphia magazine report, Gov. Wolf has previously stated his support for decriminalization. He was also a supporter of the movement to establish a medical cannabis program in Pennsylvania.

He has not warmed as much to the idea of recreational legalization, however, citing health and economic unknowns to be his reasons for wariness. “I think we can watch and see what happens in Colorado, Washington and Oregon,” Wolf said. “I think we have to wait and see.”

A proposal to seek statewide decriminalization in Pennsylvania is expected soon, according to a memorandum posted in April. That legislation, announced by Rep. Ed Gainey (D), would “protect Pennsylvanians from the lifelong collateral consequences of a narcotics conviction by imposing a fine and a summary conviction for an individual possessing thirty (30) grams or less of marijuana or eight (8) grams or less of hashish.”

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