Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Bill Doesn’t Go Far Enough

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It seemed like a victory on Wednesday when the Pennsylvania Senate passed a medical marijuana bill. It passed the Senate by a wide margin, 43-7. But the truth is it doesn’t go far enough. Before it was passed, the bill was gutted by amendment — senators removed a host of conditions medical marijuana could have been used for.

“We don’t want to give off the impression that this is a whole victory,” Dana Ulrich, whose daughter has intractable epilepsy that medical marijuana could help, told The Patriot-News. “There are patients all over Pennsylvania who are still going to be ignored if this becomes law.”

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Penn Continuing Marijuana Ban Despite City Decriminalization

penn-pot-shield Despite the City of Philadelphia’s law decriminalizing marijuana possession expected to take effect next month, the University of Pennsylvania has no plans to change its policy toward pot use on campus. Sorry, Penn kids: You’ll still have to look over your shoulder when you light up at the Biopond.

Philadelphia’s new pot laws will be a $25 fine for possession, and a $100 fine or community service for smoking in public. Penn won’t tweak its on-campus pot ban, because it says doing so would put its federal funding in jeopardy. The federal government requires Penn to continue punishing students for marijuana use and possession, Penn says, or the university would be at risk for losing research and financial aid money. Another place one can smoke on Penn’s campus but will have to be worried about is in the little nook between the art school and the communications building.

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It’s the End of the War on Drugs as We Know It

Kids, gather round. Let me share with you the horrors of my youth.

Behold:

And:

Back in the 1980s, these commercials were on a near-constant loop — especially on Saturday mornings and any other times kids might be watching TV. It was a steady drumbeat: Don’t do drugs. Don’t do drugs. Don’t do drugs. Don’t do drugs. Somehow, people kept doing drugs.

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Council Passes Tweaked Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Marijuana decriminalization is one step closer to reality.

City Council today approved a revised decriminalization bill aimed at ending arrests for possession of small amounts of pot. Instead, offenders would be issued a $25 ticket — and have their stash destroyed on the spot, potentially. Persons caught smoking in public would be fined $100, but could erase that fine with community service.
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In Praise of Mayor Nutter

Michael Nutter

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Mayor Nutter did a good thing this week.

Really. His decision to come to an accommodation with Councilman Jim Kenney on pot decriminalization will have widespread benefits in Philadelphia. It will save thousands of otherwise-law-abiding young men and women from an arrest record in their future. It might save some dough at the police department. And it’s probably good for his legacy: In 10 years, almost nobody will remember that he fought Kenney to nearly the last possible moment; they’ll just remember that he was the Philadelphia mayor who signed the decriminalization bill.

He even tweaked the bill in a way that improves it: By adding a $100 fine for smoking pot in public, Nutter moved to ensure that pot use will be a closed-doors activity rather than one for the street corners.  Nobody has to worry about young men smoking weed out in front of a grandmother’s stoop anymore.

Good job, Mayor Nutter! You’re going to get kudos and you deserve them!

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Is Mayor Nutter Making Nice on Pot Decriminalization?

It looks as though Mayor Nutter is charting a new course on pot decriminalization.

Newsworks reports that the mayor — who still has several weeks to veto or approve City Council’s decriminalization bill — is now working on his own plan to deal with small-time possession.

What’s more, he’s dropped the sneering tone that accompanied his previous statements on the topic — and seems surprised that anybody thought there was a conflict on the topic.

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5 Reasons Fall Could Be Great for Politics in Philly

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All hail the end of summer.

Sure, that means it’s time to stop being lazy and get back to work. But for journalists, that means the dog days are over — actual news will start to happen again, and we can find new things to write and opine about. Hallelujah.

In fact, this stands to be a very newsy fall. And if everything breaks right, it might even be a really good fall, with city and state government finally making some breakthroughs on issues that have needed breakthroughs for a long time.

Here are five things that could make this a very good political fall in Philadelphia:

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