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Stack Introduces Marijuana Reform With Hanger Support

Senator Stack
Senator Stack

State Senator Mike Stack proposed two reforms to Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws: one to decriminalize small amounts of the drug and another to help expunge criminal possession records.

He was joined at his press conference by outspoken marijuana legalization advocate and former gubernatorial candidate John Hanger.

“The old hard-line stance on marijuana has been ineffective at eradicating its use and the cost to taxpayers is outsized for the job,” Stack said. “These bills are not intended to be a commentary on the wisdom or health of marijuana use. They are targeted at the wisdom of continuing an approach that is expensive, ineffective and misguided. These bills are a challenge for those who talk about identifying programs that don’t work and either fixing or eliminating them.”

The first bill he’s proposing, the decriminalization legislation, possession of less than an ounce of marijuana would be a summary offense, which can be handled through paperwork rather than a misdemeanor arrest. After two of these offenses, a defendant could be charged with a misdemeanor.

The second would allow people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can apply to have their record expunged after five years.

Stack appears to be picking up the marijuana reform mantle left by Hanger’s exit from the governor’s race, particularly given Hanger’s public support of the bills. Hanger’s People’s Campaign included a detailed policy platform for the legalization and taxation of marijuana to fund his other initiatives. While Stack’s policies are not quite so progressive, they do put him to the left of his competitors in the primary race.

Hanger has not yet made an endorsement in the Lieutenant Governor or Governor’s race, and appeared at today’s press conference solely in support of Stack’s latest legislation.

In order to win the Lt. Gov. nomination, Stack will have to defeat Harrisburg City Councilman Brad Koplinski, Jay Paterno, Bradford County Commissioner Mark Smith, State Rep. Brandon Neuman and former Congressman Mark Critz.

7 Responses

  1. Pesticides killing bees, and sprayed on you’re well food will cause more harm than pot! Get over the lies!

  2. Decriminalization leaves in place the sales force of abusers and gangsters who are subsidized, TAX FREE, by the multi billion dollar a year black market created and imposed by prohibition.

    The choice that political leaders have is the status quo that gives abusers and gangsters control over the gateway of access by kids to pot. Or legalization that slams shut the gateway putting responsible regulated and licensed adult supervision in control of access to most pot sales. Protect kids with responsible adult supervision or continue to abandon children to the morals and ethics of abusers and gangsters on street corners.

  3. the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

    “any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death” – cali secret 420

    from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

    20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary….nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet
    are southern states…even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice…no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol…not 1….my turn, I gave you 20 years, watch and learn

    Deaths by Alcohol and Tobacco: Millions
    Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade
    Deaths by Guns: Millions
    Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions
    Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever…they are killing my American family while denying freedom

    love and freedom forever


  4. Bravo, Sen Stack for your leadership and courage in the face of little of each in the PA General Assembly. But mostly: thank you, John Hanger, for putting yourself out there to ridicule from The Political Class. You, much more than Stack, and as much so as Sen Leach have pushed this issue into the fore where it belongs.

  5. While I support the regulation and taxation of marijuana for recreational use, I emailed Sen. Stack and expressed my concern about S.B. 1307. While it’s not a bad idea to reduce punishment for possession, Sen. Stack’s proposal is a half measure masquerading as pragmatism. Under his proposal, marijuana is still a third-degree misdemeanor, meaning marijuana users WILL be given a fine (up to $500) for the first two offenses, and could still be thrown in jail for possession after that. Considering around 60 percent of Pennsylvanians want marijuana decriminalized, I wouldn’t even call it a middle-of-the-road approach. I don’t have a problem with incremental progress per se, but Stack’s proposal is even smaller than a baby step. At a minimum, we need full decriminalization YESTERDAY, something similar to what was recently done in Washington, D.C.

  6. How come nearly every LG article leaves out Mark Smith’s name when mentioning the other candidates at the bottom?

  7. A middle of the road policy that does not go far enough. It’s a safe choice for Stack, but he’s hedging his bets with this move. Would have gained my support if he went for more progressive policy, and partnered with it a detailed medical cannabis plan.

  • Who are you voting for in the PA Supreme Court race?

    • Dan McCaffery (61%)
    • Carolyn Carluccio (37%)
    • Still undecided (2%)

    Total Voters: 344

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