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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v16/n599/a03.html
Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm
Votes: 0
Pubdate: Wed, 31 Aug 2016
Source: Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA)
Copyright: 2016 The Standard-Speaker
Website: http://www.standardspeaker.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/1085


Gov.  Tom Wolf ‘s call last week for decriminalizing small-scale marijuana possession is not as controversial as it might seem.  In effect, it is a call for a uniform state policy to ensure equal justice.

Across the state many prosecutors and police agencies already have adopted policies to forgo prosecuting smallamount possession.  Instead, they press treatment and rehabilitation, reducing costs associated with prosecuting the cases and focusing resources on more dangerous drugs and large-scale distribution.

The state District Attorneys Association does not oppose the change advocated by the governor, but the Legislature regularly has failed to act on bills to that effect.

Nationally, 20 states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized smallamount possession.

Decriminalization would not be the same thing as the legalization embraced by Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska.  Rather, it would reduce the classifications for small-amount cases from misdemeanors that carry jail time to summary offenses.

Lawmakers should recognize the benefits to law enforcement, the justice system and individuals whose lives no longer would be ruined by a criminal record for possessing a small amount of pot.  They should work with the governors and the prosecutors to change the law. 

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom