Bills to Kill Fake Pot, Promote Real

Representative Edith Ajello and Representative Joseph McNamara have a pair of bills they intend to introduce in the new legislative session. One to ban fake marijuana and the other to legalize the real stuff.

Rep. Ajello’s bill didn’t make it to a vote in the last session, but according to the Johnston Sun Rise, she will introduce her measures again for the new year. Her arguments for legalization mirrors that of other advocates, citing the money going to drug cartels and the harm that prison causes to those who otherwise are committing a victimless crime. After six years with legal use for medical purposes, she feels full legalization for recreational use has a chance.

Meanwhile, Rep. McNamara is working to ban synthetic types of marijuana – chemicals sprayed on plant matter and sold as incense. These substances slip through the regulations by using chemicals that haven’t yet been banned. His inspiration for the bill, according to reports, was two students caught smoking a version of a synthetic drug which can be sold legally to adults in Rhode Island.

Because manufacturers switch chemicals whenever legislation passes to ban a particular substance, McNamara’s bill would ban whole classes of compounds. Described as an “umbrella” approach, it relies on structural similarities instead of outlawing synthetics one at a time.

McNamara is the chairman of the House Committee on Health, Education and Wellness, putting him in a powerful position to take action. He is modeling his legislation after a similar measure that passed in New Jersey.

Not mentioned, but worth considering, is that if marijuana is legalized, there would be little point in selling synthetic analogs. It may be possible to accomplish both goals with one measure. However, Pennsylvanians are unlikely to support legalization of the real stuff, at least until after the dust settle in those states which made marijuana legal this past election cycle. Washington and Colorado are real-world, ongoing test cases and will likely influence the course of public opinion on the issue.


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