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Republican-Backed Push to Legalize Weed in Pennsylvania Gets Underway With Hearing

A #Republican-controlled #Pennsylvania #Senate committee on held what was billed as the first of a series of hearings on the potential legalization of #recreational #marijuana use for #adults. During the two-hour #Law and #Justice Committee hearing in #Harrisburg, lawmakers and panelists #wrestled with questions about whether legalization would stamp out the #black #market, make marijuana safer from deadly contaminants, or do anything to prevent users from dipping joints in embalming fluid to get an extra high. Among the main concerns was also how police will enforce laws against driving under the #influence. Some panelists suggested that the drug is already everywhere and effectively legal.

Warren County District #Attorney Robert Greene said, “People that want to smoke marijuana now or eat #edibles are doing it now”. As to fears of an increase in intoxicated drivers if weed were legalized for recreational use, he said, “people who want to drive high are driving high now.”

Chairing the hearing was Republican State Sen. Mike #Regan, a former law enforcement officer who represents parts of #Cumberland and #York Counties. Regan, a supporter of legalization, announced in #October that he was working with #Democratic State Rep. Amen #Brown, who represents part of #West #Philadelphia, on a marijuana legalization bill.

Legalization would bring Pennsylvania $1 #billion annually in #taxes and steal #funds away from illegal drug dealers, according to Regan. There is still a long road ahead for the measure, “It's a big thing for people to wrap their heads around legalizing marijuana but it's not really being enforced right now and the only people who are winning are the bad guys,” he said.

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