Philly NORML is dedicated to ending the war on marijuana. As part of our ongoing mission, we are working with other NORML chapters and like-minded organizations across the state to actively change the laws. At times we also need to oppose legislation that would continue the failure of prohibition.
ACTIVE Statewide Decriminalization of Marijuana
The Pennsylvania Controlled Substances Act (pdf) defines "small amounts of marijuana" as 30 grams or less of buds/leaf matter or 8 grams or less of hashish; currently, state law says that this is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. Marijuana possession is currently listed as a misdemeanor offense.
Philly NORML believes cannabis consumers should not be subject to criminal penalties such as jail time and high fines. In a perfect world, no penalties would exist and people would be free to use cannabis as they see fit; however, it will take a relatively long time to build support for that campaign. In the meantime, Pennsylvania should decriminalize marijuana.
Both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have enacted local ordinances decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. The Commonwealth should begin legislative action to take this common-sense step and make possession of small amounts of marijuana a summary offense with a sensibly low fine.
ACTIVE Statewide Cannabis Prohibition Repeal and Regulation
In 1972, Pennsylvania classified marihuana as a Schedule I substance as defined by the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act (pdf) in accordance with the Federal Controlled Substances Act. To be placed in Schedule I, a substance must meet all of three criteria:
- a high potential for abuse, and
- no currently accepted medical use in the United States, and
- a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision
This placement was made based on myth and hearsay, not scientific or medical fact. Philly NORML is of the opinion that marijuana consumers should not suffer unnecessary risk of jail time for something which was made illegal on faulty premises with the express purpose of targeting minorities. Cannabis never should have been made illegal to begin with, and the time has come for us to fix this problem.
In the 2016 - 2017 legislative session, two bills are currently in the pipeline which the PA legislature should start seriously looking at as solutions to this problem:
ACHIEVED Legalize Medical Cannabis in PA
Patients in need deserve every option available to them. Marijuana is a proven medicine, and it's time that Pennsylvania made it legal for use by patients.
Pennsylvania is on the verge of legalizing medical marijuana, and you can help! Our aim is to ensure passage of legislation that genuinely helps people suffering from a variety of maladies, including seizure conditions, cancer, HIV, PTSD, and chronic pain.