Legalization of medical marijuana proposed by Cohen

State Rep. Mark Cohen has reintroduced legislation that would offer an alternative solution to the problem of a vast underground network selling marijuana to a significant percent of Pennsylvania residents who need it for medical reasons.

My legislation would limit the legal sale of marijuana to people who have the recommendation of a medical doctor and it also would allow a limited number of compassion centers throughout Pennsylvania to sell it, said Cohen, D-Phila.

Cohen said the proposed Gov. Raymond P. Shafer Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act has the support of a broad majority of Pennsylvanias population.

Under H.B. 1181, people would have to register as medical marijuana patients and pay an annual $50 fee.

The medical marijuana would be taxed by the commonwealth and Cohen estimated the state would gain at least $25 million a year in revenue.

By legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, there should be a reduction in criminal prosecutions as well as a weakening of the existing criminal networks selling marijuana, Cohen said.

He said the bill would provide strong regulatory roles for the state departments of Health and Revenue, and law enforcement by the Pennsylvania State Police.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana.

This is not the first time that I have introduced this legislation, and I regret the lack of interest that has been shown by the Republican majority to date. Apparently there are all too few compassionate conservative members in the Republican Caucus of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Cohen said.

Submitted by PA House Democratic Caucus

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