Gov. Wolf Wants to Decriminalize Marijuana

wolf - marijuana

Good news for N.A. Poe: Gov. Tom Wolf says he is in favor of decriminalizing pot.

“I believe, for a number of reasons, that we ought to decriminalize marijuana use,” Wolf told Pittsburgh TV station WPXI. “I think our prisons are over-crowded as a result of people going to jail for reasons that, you know, we break up families for reasons that we shouldn’t.”

He added: “We destroy lives and we make it hard to find employment. So often right now possession of a small amount is a felony and an employer looks at that and dismisses (the person) automatically.”

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Why Pot Activists Really, Really Don’t Like Pa.’s Medical Marijuana Bill

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a medical marijuana bill 40-7 this week. The GOP-controlled Senate … in Pennsylvania … gave a thumbs-up to medical marijuana. Such a freak occurrence should be roundly cheered by pot activists, no?

Well, that’s not what happened.

Here’s a sampling of things that advocates for medical pot said recently about “Senate Bill 3,” the medical marijuana bill sponsored by Sen. Daylin Leach and Sen. Mike Folmer:

  • “Legislators claim to do something, full well knowing they are doing nothing!” tweeted suburban mom Anne Gemmell, who was instrumental in getting marijuana decriminalized in Philadelphia.
  • “People are dying, at least 22 veterans are resorting to suicide every day, but apparently politics is more important to Harrisburg,” said veteran Michael Whiter, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • “In the long term, SB3 may help a handful of patients. In the short term, it will do nothing but offer false hope,” said Chris Goldstein, co-chair of PhillyNORML.
  • “I am very grateful that some in Harrisburg have fought to pass some form of a medicinal marijuana program. I am bitterly disappointed, however, at the endless compromises made in order to appease a very small number of entrenched socially conservative legislators in order to get the bill passed.  We’ve been told to ‘just pass anything’ and fix it later via amendments, but Senate Bill Three is already teetering on the precipice of irrelevance and unworkability,” said Patrick Nightingale, executive director of PittsburghNORML.

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Lawyers in AG’s Office May Unionize

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa. Republicans who control both the Senate and House picked up additional seats in the November election. In the House, Republicans outnumber Democrats 119 to 84 and in the Senate, 30 to 20. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane looks on before newly elected members of the Pennsylvania Legislature are sworn in, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, at the state Capitol in Harrisburg, Pa.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Here’s another headache for Attorney General Kathleen Kane: The lawyers in her office may unionize.

“The office’s 189 attorneys – minus executive-level staff – have been invited to a May 27 meeting with representatives of the American Federation of Teachers Pennsylvania union in Harrisburg to discuss general ‘workplace rights’ issues,” PennLive reports. “A flyer announcing the meeting and obtained by PennLive promises ‘a frank discussion’ about the following topics: voice at work; job security; and protection against arbitrary treatment at work.” Read more »

Pa. Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

The Pennsylvania Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would legalize medical marijuana by a vote of 40-7.

The legislation, which was championed by Sen. Daylin Leach and Sen. Mike Folmer, would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients to treat cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDs, traumatic brain injury and other conditions.

Marijuana oils, ointments, tinctures, liquids, gels and pills could be prescribed. Smoking pot would be banned, but vaporization would be allowed in certain cases.

The bill will now go to the state House, where its fate is uncertain.

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The Incredibly Simple Way to Fix the Attorney General’s Office

Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane arrives at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, in Philadelphia.

Quick poll: Who here thinks we can solve the problems that ail the state Attorney General’s office by making Pennsylvania’s political culture more like Philly’s?

Anyone? Anyone?

The question is asked because that’s precisely what G. Terry Madonna and Michael Young recommend in an op-ed making the rounds of state newspapers this week. Not in so many words, but the effect is the same: They suggest that Kathleen Kane’s troubles in office are a problem of politics — and the solution is to create a “resign to run” requirement for that office, forcing the incumbent to quit if he or she chooses to run for another post.

Which is exactly the same requirement that members of City Council face when they want to run for mayor — or any other elected office — aside from the one they hold. Now, it’s been about a decade since Councilman Rick Mariano left office in disgrace, and a little longer yet since an FBI bug was found in John Street’s office, but does anybody really want to claim that the city’s political culture has been exemplary since then? Or that “resign to run” is the reason we haven’t seen any criminal prosecutions at City Hall lately?

Anyone? Read more »

Court Strikes Down Anti-Mumia Law


A federal judge has struck down a new state law that attempted to keep convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and other Pennsylvania prisoners from having their voices heard by the outside world.

The law, passed in the wake of Abu-Jamal’s October commencement speech to students at Goddard College in Vermont, lets crime victims — or prosecutors — sue inmates whose behavior behind bars continues to create anguish for the victims. But a federal court says the law violates the First Amendment rights of Abu-Jamal and other prisoners.

“The fact that certain plaintiffs have been convicted of infamous or violent crimes is largely irrelevant to our First Amendment analysis. A past criminal offense does not extinguish the offender’s constitutional right to free expression,” Judge Christopher Conner wrote. “The First Amendment does not evanesce at the prison gate.” (See the full opinion below.) Read more »

Here’s the Just-Unsealed Grand Jury Report on Kathleen Kane


A Montgomery County judge today released a grand jury report that recommends Attorney General Kathleen Kane face charges in the leaking of documents from an earlier grand jury investigation.

“We find that the testimony of Attorney General Kane was not an honest account of the events, and she mischaracterized events to cover-up activities undertaken at her direction to unlawfully release documents subject to grand jury secrecy,” the grand jury said in its presentment, dated December 19, 2014. (See the full document below.)

The grand jury recommended she face charges of perjury, false swearing, abuse of office, obstruction of the law, and contempt of court. Read more »

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