PHILADELPHIA – Fifteen states have now legalized the adult use of cannabis (aka marijuana, ganja, reefer, weed, etc.). While you were occupied with the November 3 election, four states, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota legalized cannabis, joining the other eleven states and two U.S. territories where it was already legal.
Voters in Oregon State, where cannabis was legalized in 2015, went a step further and decriminalized heroin, cocaine, and "all drugs," a sentiment clearly stated in the Green Party platform. For many years the Green Party has called to "implement a step-by-step program to decriminalize all drugs in the United States."
"Drug legalization exhibits respect for the individual, fiscal responsibility on the part of the government, and progressive criminal justice reform," explained Tre Schumacher (Philadelphia), member of the Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) steering committee. "Legalizing drugs means less crowded jails and more free citizens contributing to society. It means fewer tax dollars spent on police raids, legal expenses, incarceration expenses, and other expenses associated with enforcing drug criminalization. Legalization means more investments, consumer spending, and tax revenue." Schumacher continued, "Although drug legalization is not police reform, it is policing reform. Drug legalization advances the way we define, think and treat law, crime, and the 'criminal mind.'"
"If drug use is a free choice, the state should have no right to encroach on individual liberty. If drug use results in addiction or destructive behavior, it should then be addressed by medical professionals, not by the state in the form of incarceration," said Tina Olson (Hellertown), organizer for the Lehigh Valley Green Party. "From the perspective of mental health professionals, the question of whether addiction is a moral debate or medical issue has been resolved. As addiction is now listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), we have to look at it as an ongoing health condition. Jailing addicts and addicts-in-recovery is akin to imprisoning someone with schizophrenia. As we know from the history of mental institutions, that method is cruel and inhumane."
Chris Robinson (Philadelphia), co-leader of GPPA's communication team, said, "The voting public overwhelmingly agrees with the Green Party. A supermajority of U.S. voters (68 percent) said they supported legalization of cannabis in a Gallup poll in October 2020. A Harper Poll in May 2020, showed that 62 percent of PA voters supported legalization of cannabis, with majorities from conservatives, centrists and liberals. It is time for the PA General Assembly to act."
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) is an independent political party that stands in opposition to the two corporate parties. GPPA candidates promote public policy based on the Green Party's Four Pillars: ecological wisdom, grassroots democracy, nonviolence, and social justice/equal opportunity. For further information about GPPA, please visit www.gpofpa.org. Please follow GPPA on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
For more information, please see:
Platform, Green Party of the U.S., II. Social Justice, H. Criminal Justice, Green Solutions, End the War on Drugs,
"National Poll Finds Overwhelming Support for Legalization" by Marie Edinger, December 1, 2020,
"Pennsylvania: Poll Shows Broad Support for Legalization," August 25, 2020,
"PA Cannabis Coalition Calls for Principle-Based Approach to Adult-Use Marojuana," June 14, 2020,
Cannabis has proven to be effective and side-effect free relief for numerous illnesses, as well as healthy preventative therapy. Patients can choose various methods of medicating, such as food, tea, oil, inhaled or raw juiced.
Patients have a right to choose their own medicine and therefore medical, organic or natural cannabis must be available.
Hemp, the non-psychoactive form of the cannabis plant, has tens of thousands of industrial applications. Anything that can be done with petroleum, soy, or cotton can be done with hemp, and done much better. Hemp grows without need of herbicide, pesticide or other chemical treatment. It can grow in marginal soil making it perfect for regenerating industrially scarred land.
Hemp’s versatility provides economic opportunity consistent with Green Party values of green, local economic development; as opposed to centralized corporate servitude. Among the many products that can be made with hemp are plastics that are biodegradable, building products, fuel, soaps and lotions, food and feed, clothes, paper and many other products. Such versatility provides opportunity from the farm, to manufacturing, to wholesale and retail sales. Hemp is valuable to farmers as a cash crop and is ideal in strategies of erosion prevention.
The cannabis/hemp plant is one the world’s most effective in removing CO2 from the air, providing benefit concerning global warming.
Cannabis prohibition pre-dates the Drug War by about 30 years. Initiated just after repeal of alcohol prohibition, its effect has been just as harmful, or worse, than alcohol prohibition. At the beginning of the War on Drugs there were about 300,000 Americans incarcerated in the US. Today that number has grown to nearly 2.5 million today. Also, prohibition has fueled organized crime, corrupted police departments and denied tax revenue that would be available with legal, regulated cannabis.
The past 20 years have seen an alarming growth in private prisons, which would not be needed if prohibition were repealed.
Dear Governor Tom Wolf & respected Pennsylvania State Legislature,
With this signed petition I stand with the PA Green Party membership and countless other Pennsylvanians in our commitment to legalize cannabis.
There is no aspect of the failed Drug War more offensive than the lies and propaganda used to continue prohibition of cannabis. The history of human exploitation of the plant for medical, social and industrial purposes is traced thousands of years into that history, through the present. The plant is non-toxic and grows wild on six continents.
The Pennsylvania Green Party supports legalized cannabis not only for the reasons outlined below, but also regarding the more fundamental natural rights we believe must be protected. Further, cannabis in its natural form must also be protected from being genetically modified and the exclusive property of agriculture and pharmaceutical companies.
We declare the plant to be perfect in its organic or natural state and affirm our commitment to an individual’s right to medicate as he or she chooses, and that interference is a violation of human and natural rights.
The hypocrisy of legal tobacco and alcohol, which combined result in about 500,000 deaths annually in the US; while criminalizing cannabis, which has never killed anyone due to its non-toxic composition, must be confronted. Prohibition is causing much more harm to our society than cannabis ever could cause.
Pennsylvanians deserve to have an alternative to alcohol, and should be allowed to grow for personal use, just as Pennsylvanians are allowed to make wine and beer for personal use.
Many opportunities for transformation to a greener Pennsylvania are possible if we commit ourselves to honest debate centered on truth, not profit motivated propaganda that criminalizes rational and natural human behavior.