Posted by 05 September 2016
If Governor Tom Wolf gets his way, Pennsylvanians will no longer be going to jail for possessing modest quantities of marijuana.
The governor told WITF-FM, “There are too many people who are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts or carry modest amounts of marijuana, and that is clogging up our prisons, it's destroying families, and it's hurting our economy, so I think decriminalization is the first step.”
Gov. Wolf is proposing decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, which is different from full legalization. Decriminalization means that it is still against the law to possess marijuana, but it is a civil infraction or a misdemeanor with no chance of jail time. Legalization, on the other hand, is removing any criminal or civil penalties for marijuana possession.
Possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized in 21 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen of those states impose only a civil penalty (such as a fine) for possession, while in 6 states possession is a misdemeanor that does not involve jail time.
Four states (Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon) along with the District of Columbia have fully legalized possessing minor amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Voters in those states have approved initiatives that removed criminal and civil penalties for this type of drug use.
Do you think that the commonwealth should follow the lead of 21 other states and decriminalize marijuana possession?