Thank you for taking the time to contact my office and express your views regarding the prospect of legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania. The involvement of concerned citizens like you provides me with important insight into complicated issues and allows our democracy to work effectively.
Along with you, I share the belief that it is time to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Pennsylvania. Further, the so-called “War on Drugs” is a failure. Decades have gone by with overcrowded prisons for individuals being punished for using marijuana but not harming others. The United States has spent billions investigating, prosecuting, and imprisoning citizens who have hurt no one.
Prohibition of marijuana has created the same taboo, black market sales that were seen during the ban on alcohol in America. This black market has given way to drug and gang wars in our own neighborhoods.
I believe it is time to amend this outdated policy, and legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. Legalization will bring revenue into our Commonwealth because marijuana will be regulated for safer use, and taxed in order to provide government programs. Driving under the influence, selling to minors, or public intoxication will remain illegal.
Not only will legalizing marijuana establish revenue for the Commonwealth, it will reduce the prison population and burden on taxpayers. Previous arguments for prohibiting marijuana use have mostly been disproven by scientific evidence. While it is not the healthiest choice, marijuana use is not addictive and harms public health exponentially less than cigarettes and alcohol.
Senator Daylin Leach is the prime sponsor of legislation in the Pennsylvania Senate to legalize marijuana, and I am a co-sponsor of this bill. Senator Leach cites studies which show that the Commonwealth will save more than $235 million per year by legalizing marijuana, and taxing sales of marijuana would amount to at least $25 million per year for the General Fund. Legalizing and taxing marijuana could establish steady state funding which could eradicate some of the serious budget shortfalls we have seen in recent years: school funding, public employee pensions, and transportation infrastructure investments.
Again, I believe that legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana is a step in the right direction for Pennsylvania.
Please continue to make your voice heard and rest assured that the decisions I make as your State Senator are with all of my constituents in mind.
I have two district offices to serve you and your needs:
3519 Butler Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
1633 Pacific Avenue
Natrona Heights, PA 15065
Please feel free to contact my offices with any questions you may have, utilize the resources on my website www.senatorferlo.com, and follow me on Twitter @SenatorJimFerlo.
I look forward to continuing my public service to the residents of the 38th Senate District.
Senator Jim Ferlo