Legalize it? Marijuana talk has been going on for decades. It’s what they’re saying and who’s listening that’s changed

Pennsylvania has come a long way in the last 15 years.

With bipartisan support, policy-makers have legalized casino gambling; pushed beer and wine into grocery stores; allowed the sales of certain forms of marijuana for medicinal use, and given the green light for sports betting.

Are we ready for our next vice?

That’s what Gov. Tom Wolf has directed his new lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, to try to ascertain in a 67-county, pulse-of-the-people listening tour scheduled to open in Harrisburg Monday evening. Fetterman’s first stop is the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg, 3301 N. Front St., at 6 p.m.


Pennsylvania lawmaker to introduce Bill to legalize adult-use cannabis

A Pennsylvania lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis by adults in the state. Democratic Rep. Jake Wheatley announced in a tweet on Sunday that he would be introducing a recreational cannabis legalization bill at the state capitol on Monday. Under the measure, adults at least 21 years of age would be permitted to purchase and cultivate marijuana.


In a surprise move, Pennsylvania is throwing the door wide open for industrial hemp production

In a surprising turn, Pennsylvania is throwing the door wide open for industrial hemp production — something the state, or the United States, for that matter, has not seen since before World War II.


So what's the difference between hemp and marijuana anyway?

In December 2018, a federal Farm Bill was signed into law that removes hemp — cannabis plants with a trace amount of the chemical compound that gets you high — from the Controlled Substance Act.

But what's the difference between hemp and marijuana?

The answer to that question may be on the minds of Pennsylvania residents this week, after State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said Tuesday a plan was submitted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that allows for the full commercial production of industrial hemp.


Data shows black people in Philadelphia are still targeted after pot decriminalization

Despite the decriminalization of cannabis in Philadelphia four years ago, African-Americans in the city are still being disproportionately charged with marijuana offenses by police. The city decriminalized possession of less than 30 grams of cannabis with an ordinance passed in 2014.

But arrests for possession are still made, and purchasing marijuana is still a criminal offense. In the four years since decriminalization, Black people—who represent 44 percent of the city’s population—made up 76 percent of all arrests for marijuana possession. The defendants in 81 percent of arrests for buying cannabis were Black.


Pot in Pennsylvania: Yes, there's strong public support for recreational marijuana

The idea of legalizing marijuana may have significant opposition in the General Assembly, but polls show the public supports the idea.


Pennsylvania Governor indicates support for legalizing recreational cannabis in series of tweets

In a series of questions and answers on Twitter earlier this week, it appears that Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf is considering legalizing recreational cannabis in the state.

“More and more states are successfully implementing marijuana legalization, and Pennsylvania should learn from their efforts,” Wolf responded to one tweet which asked when Pennsylvania will “catch up and make recreational marijuana legal".

“Any change would take legislation, but I think it is time for Pennsylvania to take a serious and honest look at recreational marijuana.”


School districts struggle with rules for administering medical marijuana - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nearly three years after Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, school districts are struggling to figure out how to get it administered to children who need it while dealing with conflicting state and federal law.

As medical marijuana burgeons across Pennsylvania and elsewhere – 33 states and Washington D.C. have legalized it – the federal government maintains a strict ban on the substance. Meanwhile, patients suffering from a range of chronic conditions, such as neurological disorders and Crohn’s Disease, use it to treat symptoms and improve the quality of their lives.

Local school officials say the rift puts them in a bind.


Pennsylvania to consider more conditions that should qualify for medical marijuana

Pennsylvania could soon make more conditions eligible for medical marijuana treatment.

The state Medical Marijuana Advisory Boardapproved a new process for amending and expanding the state’s list of 21 serious conditions for which patients may use cannabis as treatment, Department of Health spokesman Nate Wardle said.

In the coming weeks, the board will begin accepting research-based petitions for qualifying conditions to be added to the list, with tentative plans to discuss and vote on the first round of submissions during its next meeting Feb. 1.


Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture requests applications for 2019 hemp research projects

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding on Tuesday announced that applications and guidelines for 2019 industrial hemp research permits are available.

Sixty research projects will be selected this year, the third year of the program’s operation. The projects will help determine opportunities for the growth, cultivation and marketing of industrial hemp.

"Industrial hemp has a rich history in Pennsylvania, and presents a future opportunity for growers, processors, and other businesses that make a range of products across the commonwealth," Redding said. "The first research projects conducted have shown exciting progress and possibilities for this reemerging crop. This research will help us reintroduce industrial hemp in Pennsylvania."


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