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Pennsylvania officials debate legalizing marijuana

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 27 2012 05:27:28 AM CST

Legalizing marijuana

Lighting up could leave you locked up but should it?

"I think there is a purpose for it yes," Allentown resident Michael Miller said about marijuana.

"Definitely noooo," chipped in Janice Romig.

Democratic State Senator from Montgomery County Daylin Leach is saying yes as is fellow Democrat Philadelphia State Rep Mark Cohen.

This on the heels of Colorado and Washington State allowing recreational use of the drug.

There has been a plan to legalize pot in Pennsylvania before for medicinal purposes only, however that never panned out.

Leach, has already twice sponsored failed legalized medical marijuana bills.

"They have been denied based on unfounded fears, bad science and old wives tales. Its time for the prohibition to end," Leach said back in 2010.

Leach is set to do it again, with a bill allowing recreational use too.

"I don't think decriminalizing the marijuana for personal use as its called is a good idea."

Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin admits limited resources are used to nab recreational users. The focus is primarily on dealers and growers.

But he does call marijuana a gateway drug.

"I believe people who become addicted to heroin, crack, meth started with marijuana," he said.

Governor Tom Corbett agrees and has said he would veto any pot bill. Democrat Lehigh Valley Senator Lisa Boscola doesn't expect the law to change.

Even though many outside of Harrisburg may want it to.

A 2010 Franklin and Marshall College survey showed 80% of Pennsylvanians polled support legalizing marijuana.