Gov. Tom Wolf is looking to lessen the crime of marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. The Democrat said the state needs to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession, WTAE reported Monday.
Wolf expressed his opinion on the matter during an interview with Scott LaMar, host of "Smart Talk" on Harrisburg's WITF radio. He told the host, "There are too many people who are going to prison because of the use of very modest amounts or carry modest amounts of marijuana, and that is clogging up our prisons, it's destroying families and it's hurting our economy, so I think decriminalization is the first step."
While the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is not against downgrading the charges of marijuana possession, Ed Marsico, the Dauphin County district attorney, said people rarely go to jail for it. Marsico explained that prosecutors are aware that people with drug problems need treatment rather than jail which is why “basically nobody goes to jail for possession of a joint."
The association is considering knocking down the penalty for small amounts of marijuana possession to a misdemeanor in which if convicted, a person could spend a maximum of 30 days in jail. Marsico insisted that while prosecutors are working diligently to prevent drug possession cases from resulting in jail time, the penalty for drug dealers will be completely different.
Wolf said he is all for decriminalization of marijuana but does not feel the need to follow in the steps of Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, states that have full legalization of recreational use. The Philly Voice reported that Wolf cited health and safety of all Pennsylvania residents as a reason for not pushing for full legalization of the drug. Despite increased revenues experienced in other states from legal marijuana, he insisted that cannot be the driving force in making the decision.