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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: September 11, 2017 02:25 PM
From: Representative Ed Gainey
To: All House members
Subject: JSGC Resolution -- Ongoing Study of Marijuana Decrim/Legalization
In the near future, I intend to introduce a resolution that directs the Joint State Government Commission to establish an advisory committee to conduct an ongoing study on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana and to report its findings and recommendations to the House of Representatives.

Because the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes has been part of our society for many decades, it is timely for the House of Representative to explore the matters of legalization and decriminalization more thoroughly and on a long-term basis, in light of the changing drug laws across the United States.

Additionally, because more information and statistics are necessary for the General Assembly and the Commonwealth to better evaluate the impact of the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana on the health and safety of residents, the economy, law enforcement and the criminal justice system of this Commonwealth, a study by the Joint State Government Commission is warranted.

Under the study, the Joint State Government Commission would establish an advisory committee consisting of approximately 25 members from across this Commonwealth, including representatives from various State departments, agencies and other entities, law enforcement officials, drug and alcohol service providers, professionals from the criminal justice system (including prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges) and other individuals with knowledge and expertise in matters relating to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

The study would result in reports concerning the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana and addressing the effects of the health and safety of residents of this Commonwealth, the economic effect (such as tax revenue generated, the costs associated with drug and alcohol diagnosis and treatment, and the changes in expenditures associated with criminal investigations, prosecutions and incarceration), the effects on drug and alcohol addiction rates, the effects on crime rates and incarceration rates, any changes in the relationship between law enforcement officials and members of the community, and the effects on law enforcement and criminal justice procedures.

The reports would also contain nationwide statistics regarding marijuana use and the effects of the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, a summary of the laws from other jurisdictions regarding the use of marijuana, and policy recommendations and proposed legislation regarding the use of marijuana in this Commonwealth and related issues.

An initial report of findings and recommendations would be issued to the House of Representatives no later than one year after the adoption of this resolution, and additional reports would be issued biennially.

Please consider co-sponsoring this legislation.

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Introduced as HR567