- (Photo: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
Marijuana legalization is a big debate right now in Pennsylvania, with advocates for the drug's legalization gaining ground recently after the NAACP's Cheltam Area Branch announced its support of a bill to regulate the drug.
State Senator Daylin Leach (D-17) introduced Senate Bill 528 that proposes to permit the possession, production, and use of marijuana by individuals who are over 21 years of age.
Earlier this month the NAACP released a report, "The War on Marijuana in Black and White," that claimed there had been more than 8 million marijuana arrests in the United States between 2001 and 2010.
The report also claimed that it costs approximately $3.6 billion a year to enforce marijuana laws at present.
Many analysts believe that it is only a matter of time before the bill is placed into the state's law, but the bill also has its critics.
Speaking in favor of the bill, Senator Leach has said, "We spend $350 million a year in Pennsylvania just on the arrest, incarceration and monitoring of people for marijuana-related offenses. We can save all of that if we ended prohibition. Plus, we could tax this and gain revenue," according to FOX 43 Central Pennsylvania.
David Scott, the chairman of the legal redress committee for the local branch of the NAACP, also said, "The war on drugs is a catastrophic failure particularly on people of color. So much money and resources have been spent on the war on drugs while there is an alarming while there is a lack of funds for Philadelphia and school systems in general. An ACLU report estimated in just 2010, one year, one hundred million dollars was taken from Pennsylvania taxpayers just to enforce marijuana possession."