Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Will Pot Become Legal in Pennsylvania? Unlikely

Is pot becoming legal in Pennsylvania?

The Philadelphia Daily News has launched its brand new pro-pot column, Philly420, discussing the legalization of marijuana and hoping that the state will eventually make recreational marijuana legal.

It's unlikely, however, that it will become legal anytime soon, writes The Patriot-News. Despite the fact that Colorado and Washington both approved citizen-voted measures legalizing recreational marijuana, there's still the issue of the federal supremacy on drug laws.

Basically, the federal authorities could step in and say that they decide what is legal as it relates to drug possession.

In Pennsylvania, there are the usual two sides to this debate. On one side, the pot advocates say that legalizing marijuana would result in more tourism. The proponents also cite that legalization of marijuana would bring about more tax dollars and lower law enforcement costs.

Opponents, however, cite the usual dangers of marijuana, calling it a gateway drug that would lead to people using far more harmful drugs. But with medical marijuana being banned in Pennsylvania, the state has a long way to go before pot becomes legalized recreationally.

Current Pennsylvania marijuana laws make it a misdemeanor to have even a small amount of marijuana. A small amount is defined as less than 30 grams. Violators can get up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine.

So right now, while the winds are changing in many states, it’s unlikely that the winds of change will blow into Pennsylvania anytime soon. And even with the new pot laws in Washington and Colorado, time will tell whether those laws will stand or whether the feds will step in with their powers and put an end to legalized recreational marijuana.

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