Every year we charge roughly 3,000 people in Pennsylvania with a marijuana-related crime. The result is that law enforcement's limited time and resources are diverted away from prosecuting violent criminals while we instead clog the system with minor offenders.
I’ve introduced legislation to reduce the penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana to help relieve the burden on Pennsylvania’s justice system - a key reason my legislation has support from Republicans and Democrats alike. I’ve also introduced a bill to help individuals who have been arrested for small amounts of marijuana get their life back on track by creating a pathway to expunge those arrests from their record after five years of good behavior. This will help bring down the barriers that keep non-violent, small-time drug offenders from finding a job and reduce the likelihood that they’ll commit another crime. Moreover, this is an issue that disproportionately affects African Americans, who are incarcerated at a rate five times higher than white marijuana users even though they're no more likely to use marijuana.
And for many Americans suffering from serious serious illness or other conditions, marijuana is medically important. I'm a proud sponsor of legislation that would legalize medical marijuana in Pennsylvania because it's wrong to deny a patient any remedy prescribed by a doctor that might help treat an illness or relieve an individual suffering from a serious medical condition.
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