Pennsylvania State Sen. Mike Regan knows that by backing Pennsylvania cannabis legalization, he might surprise some of his constituents, especially since he is a former U.S. Marshal. It also finds him in agreement with Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
In a recent opinion piece picked up by many media outlets in Pennsylvania, Regan explained his position. It’s of interest to cannabis consumers everywhere, as he makes a strong argument that even conservative politicians should favor adult-use cannabis legalization. He also takes the rare step of equating cannabis legalization with efforts to reduce crime.
Regan wrote that when he first started speaking on adult-use legalization, “I got the expected question from constituents, friends, and colleagues: How could I, as a former U.S. Marshal, support legalizing marijuana?”
The answers, he wrote, revolve around the failure of cannabis prohibition.
Criminals Making Billions Off Illegal Drugs
Regan wrote that the long-time federal policy of cannabis prohibition has failed in Pennsylvania. He said that instead, a “general consensus” has developed to accept the status quo on marijuana law, a situation he called “unfathomable.”
Meanwhile, as more communities across the state decriminalize marijuana, it opens the door for expansion of the illegal cannabis market, Regan wrote. He added that an estimated $325 million a month is flowing out of Pennsylvania and into the illicit market, “bankrolling violent cartels who are destroying our communities.”
Regan also pointed out that illegal cannabis dealers sell marijuana to anyone regardless of age, do not test products to ensure safety, do not pay taxes and lack any oversight over their operations.
“In the simplest of terms, our choices are between safe or unsafe; tested or untested; age controlled or available to all; and tax revenue or criminal gain,” wrote Regan. “And that is why I have come to my current belief that we must legalize adult-use marijuana…to protect our communities. A choice between the status quo and a regulated market is so obvious it is hard to imagine who disagrees.”
Conservatives Come Around to Legalization
Pennsylvania cannabis legalization is only one arena for debate over the legalization of cannabis that now spans across the country, including in the halls of the U.S. Congress. Although he offers one of the better articulated arguments for legalization, Regan is not alone among Republicans wanting change.
Republicans in Congress have proposed the States Reform Act that would decriminalize marijuana use at the federal level, turning the issue over for each state to decide without concerns about federal interference. Among other big changes, the act would clear the way for banks to offer cannabis businesses financial services without violating federal law.
Regan pointed out that Pennsylvanians also support legalization, with 90 percent in a recent survey saying that state leaders should make Pennsylvania cannabis legalization a reality.
“It is clear that the time has come to say goodbye to prohibition and the status quo,” Regan wrote, “and instead, establish an adult-use marijuana policy that takes control away from violent criminals and protects Pennsylvanians from a tainted product while funding important initiatives to protect the health and safety of our communities.”