Saturday, April 13, 2024

Criminalization Of Weed Is A Waste Of Resources, Pennsylvania AG Says As Elections Approach

The number of Democratic politicians who are becoming more vocal regarding marijuana policy reform is on the rise as the midterms approach.

By Jelena Martinovic

With midterms approaching, cannabis is often in the spotlight of debates. Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has expressed support for cannabis policy change previously, reiterated his support for marijuana legalization.

“Continuing to criminalize adult personal marijuana use is a waste of limited law enforcement resources, taxpayer dollars, disproportionately impacts minority communities, and does not make our communities safer — which is why I support legalization under key conditions,” Shapiro told Broad and Liberty earlier this week when asked if he would support legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

As part of Broad + Liberty’s Candidate Spotlight Series, Shapiro’s opponent Doug Mastriano (R), was asked the same question. However, Mastriano’s campaign remained silent, even though the gubernatorial candidate earlier had called cannabis legalization a “stupid idea.”

legal marijuana
Photo by Baris-Ozer/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Shapiro laid out what marijuana legalization should encompass, highlighting a criminal justice component. “Those convicted for nonviolent possession of small amounts of marijuana must have their records expunged,” he said.

Secondly, Shapiro emphasized that the cannabis industry “must be regulated and taxed responsibly.” Lastly, he said that attracting businesses to Pennsylvania is essential in creating “good-paying jobs” and boosting the Commonwealth’s economy.

RELATED: Biden Weighs In On Cannabis During Meeting With PA Senate Candidate Fetterman

“I’m not interested in subsidizing out-of-state companies to come in and make a quick buck off of Pennsylvanians’ backs,” Shapiro continued. “If we do that, marijuana legalization can lead to a fairer criminal justice system and a stronger economy for Pennsylvania.”

Democrats Pushing For Marijuana Legalization

Interestingly, the number of Democratic politicians who are becoming more vocal regarding marijuana policy reform is on the rise as the midterms approach.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman recently urged President Joe Biden to deschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug and work to decriminalize it. Shortly after, the two politicians crossed paths in Pittsburgh and discussed potential changes to the status of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act prior to his speech at a union hall on Labor Day.

RELATED: Racism Persists In States With Criminal Penalties For Cannabis Possession

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a news briefing last week that she didn’t “have anything right now to announce,” in response to Fetterman’s request to Biden to deschedule cannabis prior to his Pittsburg visit.

Still, Jean-Pierre highlighted that Biden “believes that there are too many people serving unduly long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown.”

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.


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