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Republican-backed push to legalize weed in Pennsylvania gets underway with hearing

The push to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in Pennsylvania follows legalization moves in neighboring New Jersey and New York.

A Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate committee on Monday held what was billed as the first of a series of hearings on the potential legalization of recreational marijuana use for adults.

During the two-hour Law and Justice Committee hearing in Harrisburg, lawmakers and panelists wrestled with questions about whether legalization would stamp out the black market, make marijuana safer from deadly contaminants, or do anything to prevent users from dipping joints in embalming fluid to get an extra high.

Among the main concerns was also how police will enforce laws against driving under the influence.

Some panelists suggested that the drug is already everywhere and effectively legal.

“People that want to smoke marijuana now or eat edibles are doing it now,” said Warren County District Attorney Robert Greene. As to fears of an increase in intoxicated drivers if weed were legalized for recreational use, he said, “people who want to drive high are driving high now.”

Chairing the hearing was Republican State Sen. Mike Regan, a former law enforcement officer who represents parts of Cumberland and York Counties. Regan, a supporter of legalization, announced in October that he was working with Democratic State Rep. Amen Brown, who represents part of West Philadelphia, on a marijuana legalization bill. [Read More @ The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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