Marijuana advocates rally in Harrisburg – Standard Speaker
HARRISBURG — Marijuana advocates spoke Wednesday of political momentum shifting their way as they rallied at the Capitol to bring the controlled substance out of decades of legal prohibition.
The event organized by the Keystone Cannabis Coalition drew several hundred people calling for both decriminalizing the possession of marijuana and full-scale legalization of marijuana as a regulated and taxed consumer product in Pennsylvania.
The rally came days after the Wolf administration marked the one-year anniversary of the legalization of marijuana for medical uses in Pennsylvania.
“We have a political voice,” said Les Stark, the coalition’s executive director.
Jesse Nova, a member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Cannabis Network, said these rallies help show the public support for legalization.
“We believe it is all about the numbers,” he said. “It can show how serious we are.”
Pro-cannabis groups plan a rally Sunday at Nay Aug Park in Scranton, Nova said.
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale told the crowd that the people are ahead of the politicians on legalizing marijuana.
“The war on marijuana must end,” DePasquale said.
DePasquale said last month that regulating and taxing marijuana could generate $200 million in new revenue for Pennsylvania to help address chronic state budget deficits and provide money for education and highways.
At one point, the crowd chanted, “I smoke weed and I’m a good person.”
The coalition supports House legislation sponsored by Rep. Ed Gainey, D-24, Pittsburgh, to lessen the penalty for possession of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a summary offense as a first step.
But their main goal is to create legal market for use of cannabis by adults.
Gov. Tom Wolf supports decriminalization for having small amounts of marijuana, but wants to complete the process of setting up a state-regulated supply system for medical marijuana and consider