John Hanger, seems to be someone to keep an eye on. A Democratic candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania, he foresees decriminalization by 2015 and legalization by 2017.
John Hanger, a Democratic candidate for Governor and former Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, called for big changes to Pennsylvania’s marijuana laws Tuesday.
“I am calling for immediately allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, reducing the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana to a summary offense similar to a traffic ticket by 2015, and finally regulating and taxing marijuana use by 2017 if the previous reforms are successful and monitoring the experience in states that have legalized marijuana use,” said Hanger.
His pro-legalization stance cements his status as the most progressive Democrat on the issue; he is the first candidate to release a detailed policy position about it.
The gubernatorial hopeful noted that marijuana offenses make up 46% of all drug arrests, and that 88% of those arrests are from possession. African Americans, he added, are 5 times more likely to be arrested for possession despite rates of usage matching other ethnic groups. Ultimately, Hanger portrayed it as a fiscal issue that could bring the state much needed revenue.
“Regulating and taxing marijuana could bring at least $24 million a year to state coffers, revenue that could be directed to enforcing other laws and incarcerating real criminals,” concluded Hanger.
The full plan is available on the campaign’s website.