Leach Makes Push for Marijuana Legalization

State Sen. Daylin Leach

Daylin Leach is no shy guy. On a January 23rd interview with PCN he joked, “I have a weird genetic mutation where I seek out controversy rather than avoid it, much to the delight of my staff.”

Add marijuana to the list.

The Montco state Senator, who reiterated to PoliticsPA his openness to running for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, has been vocal on Democratic base issues like voter ID laws, electoral college changes, current gun laws and same sex marriage. Now he’s pushing to legalize recreation pot.

“Prohibition is a cruel irrational policy which is destroying lives, costing us billions of dollars and is doing no good whatsoever,” he said.

Recently, Leach drafted a proposal that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for those 21 years old or over.  The bill is currently waiting for co-sponsors and waiting to be referred to the appropriate committee.

Senator Leach said he thinks his legislation could receive bi-partisanship support because of the purported money (estimated $325 million in “criminal justice costs”) that could be saved and the privacy that could be added.

Alcohol and its prohibition offer a favorite historical comparison for Senator Leach and advocates for the legalization of marijuana use.

But Pa.’s Republican-controlled legislature is unlikely to move on the subject, and Gov. Tom Corbett has promised a veto for any such bill. That leaves some Democrats and libertarian-minded GOPers little incentive to take a potentially damaging vote on the subject.

Leach’s compatriots on the issue are pushing it on ideological grounds. In the State House, Representative Mark Cohen (D-Phila), who has previously proposed legislation that would legalize the use of medical marijuana (see House Bill 1653), plans on re-introducing it again during this session.

Though willing to fully support the legalization of marijuana, Representative Cohen said he believes his framework for legalizing medical marijuana is a more realistic goal in Pennsylvania than full legalization.

Cohen believes Republican support on his and Senator Leach’s legislation is possible, but he hedges, “It’s not enough for one or two legislators to make that decision. You need an entire legislative body to make that decision.”

The other major difference between Leach and Cohen? Leach said he is confident that his bill, or a similar version of it, will pass. He sees its passage as an inevitable part of Pennsylvania’s future because of changing demographics and the public’s continued exposure to the issue. Cohen, on the other hand, is not as optimistic, adding that, “I don’t know if in the next 100 years that will happen.”

Agreeing with Representative Cohen on the likelihood of passage in Pennsylvania is G. Terry Madonna, director of Franklin & Marshall College’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs, who commented, “There is no way this bill will get passed – not in this decade.”

A 2010 Franklin and Marshall College poll found that only one third of Pennsylvanians supported full legalization of marijuana – though an overwhelming 80 percent strongly or somewhat favored legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Recreational use of marijuana has already been legalized in Colorado and Washington after voter referendums.

21 Responses

  1. Corbett’s done…….stick a fork in him. He is the worst thing that ever happened to Pennsylvania. What were people thinking when they voted for him? I can only describe it as STUPIDITY!!! He will not win in 2014.

  2. It will actually be cheaper if it’s legalized and taxed. There are 5,000 uses for Cannabis/Hemp. This organic plant evolved for human consumption in its many various forms, period. You could grow the plant, extract the oil and sell it as food, fuel, or medicine. The fibers can be harvested and used for fuel, textiles, paper, clothes, home building products, composite panels in automobiles, and a host of other cool stuff. What other plant has that ability? What other plant competes with oil, timber, Rx and Textiles? This product would create jobs and take care of the economy. Any wonder why it’s illegal?

  3. i think its a wise dissicion; plus this will do nothing but help us get out of the depression were in. im a high school student. you mite think that my vote would just go to pot but its that thinking thats going to hurt us over help us. so i think all them gov. people who deni legalization need to get there head out of there ass and see the big picture. we are all stuck on the same page we need to turn to the next, and end the book with a happy ending

  4. I am a victim of marijuana prohibition and its pure stupidity that corbett promises to oppose with out even considering the benefits that could help the people of PA, I’m tired of Pennsylvaniaians giving up with out even trying they think oh this will never become legal in my life, THATS BECAUSE WE DO NOTHING ABOUT IT. It’s been lng enough that its been illegal its time for Corbett and all the other agreeers to get over them self, its not helping anyone being illegal. Sen Daylin Leach the right idea, legalize the herb and keep drugs illegal!

  5. then write to them if you want it to be legal.just send 1 a week it could be the same one who cares just write..smoke weed everyday

  6. Here is an idea for the sciencists out there studing marijuna. Why not try it with people that are Autistic? I was diagnost with Austism as a child. It seems to help we at sometimes.

  7. I’m from Bucks county. I supprt Leach 110% on this bill. I been saying for years to legalize & start selling & tax it. Not to go crazy on the taxion. Also that the crime rate would most likely drop because, of the having it on a person. Smoke pot is my Claritin. Since I have bad allagies & it’s my anti-depressed. It cut down on me smoking cigarettes. Since smoking cigarettes is back for you.

  8. I live in a massive amount of pain for 12 years now it never stops I am on fire due to a spinal cord injury there is no drug at this time to help me as a former member of the 82nd airborne 1 bad jump has destroyed my life I cant set in my wheelchair for more than 2 hours and it’s getting so that time is getting shorter all the time I have talked to many quads and paras that smoke pot and get to live a more comfortable life and not be hooked on real bad pharmical drugs that don’t do much it would be nice to have a another choice and maybe get off some of these very very bad drugs if only people could live in my skin for a hour you would not need a day to feel my never ending pain I am sure a lot of parlized people would support senator leachs plan I would at least like to have that option

  9. Just one more venue for Leach and the Progressives to add more sheep in their pen. Government allowing Big Pharma to advertise resulted in almost half our population being on some form of prescribed mind-altering drugs (Zoloft, Prozac, etc.). It is estimated over 40% of our population uses some form of mind altering illegal drugs.

    A drugged society of zombies will follow whatever orders are issued by those who want to rule them. Leach is counting on adding the few Americans who are not using prescription drugs or illegal drugs to participate in his scheme to add yet more sheep to his pen. Is there a difference between Leach and any other drug dealer? No.

  10. Gene is correct. The Democrats don’t want to make this an issue in a socially conservative state like Pennsylvania. This is a state that cannot even get liquor privatization passed.

  11. Democrats are making a huge tactical error if they assume marijuana legalization enjoys majority support among voters — on either side of the aisle.

  12. Im a Conservative with Libertarian views on many social issues…its a shame that the Republican party is not willing to ease the burden of the tax payers of Pennsylvania. This is an absolute no brainer. 350 million saved. Many more million earned in taxes for the state, job creation, additional money into our communities etc. For years we have heard the staggering amounts of money (BILLIONS OF DOLLARS) that the Mexican Cartels are worth and we continue to allow our own citizens to fund their business instead of allowing our citizens to fund our own businesses. Lets face it, this PLANT has been illegal for years and it has not stopped anyone from using it medicinally or for recreation. Its a plant…it is not a man made substance like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, LSD, crack, or meth. Its a PLANT. Let it grow and let it be used freely and let Pennsylvanians use it by choice to fund our State expenses and communities.

  13. Of course, if Daylin is successful in legalizing pot, the stoners will be too high to go to the polls to vote for him for LG. 🙂

  14. While I disagree with Leach on many things, I am glad to see there is a progressive with a spine in the Democratic ranks causing all kinds of stress for them.

  15. I think it is time to legalize marijuana, it’s crazy how the state is willing to spend over $300 million dollars a year fighting something that could be making them tons of money in taxes to be used to fund things like education and road repairs.. I just don’t understand the holdup.

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