Pennsylvania, what do you think about when you hear the mention of this state? A lot of people think about chocolate thanks to a place called Hershey, Pennsylvania. Another thought that comes to mind with the mention of Pennsylvania is cheesesteak subs that are famous in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is also responsible for starting the Philly blunt that is notoriously associated with cannabis blunts. Philly cheesesteak subs, Hershey’s chocolates, and blunts make Pennsylvania sound like it would be a stoners paradise.
Wrong, it turns out that Pennsylvania might be one of the worst places to live if you love cannabis. Maybe that’s really why the Fresh Prince bounced west so he could live with his auntie and his uncle in a town called Bel-Air. COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented amount of stress for Americans across the country and others around the world. Adding to the stress of these already high-stress times, you’ll find the Pennsylvania police department doing what they do best. The boys and girls of the PA police were out sniffing out potheads to bust. Stats suggest they like to prey upon women, juveniles, and People of Color though they seem to take what they can get.
Reports Suggest That PA Police Targeted Cannabis Consumers in 2020
Governor Wolf has stated that legalizing recreational cannabis was a priority. So, you would think that PA lawmakers would want to try and lay the groundwork for equality, not continue to support draconian federal policies that only hurt people. Nope, instead, the police in PA seemed to target cannabis consumers. The fuzz in Penn state seems to have a hard-on for busting stoners.
It seems to target People of Color even more, with statistics showing African Americans were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested. Not cool, PA! In 2020, reports show that Pennsylvania police arrested 55 people every day for cannabis. According to data shared by NORML, state stats showed, “131 white residents were arrested for marijuana per 100,000 in Pa.’s population” compared to “461 Black residents being arrested for marijuana per 100,000 in Pa.’s population.”
Local and state police in PA combined arrested 20,200 people for cannabis in 2020. It’s almost like that was their targeted number. Either that or it was just a huge coincidence that they arrested 20,200 people in 2020. That number should read in 2020, 0 people were arrested for cannabis in Pennsylvania. Apparently, elected representatives in PA don’t believe that their citizens deserve the same freedoms as others in America.
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“Cannabis consumers were targeted even during the Covid19 pandemic. This shows just how aggressively prohibition is enforced, despite the unprecedented public health risks in our communities. It’s time to stop marijuana arrests, right now.”- Chris Goldstein, NORML Regional Organizer.
Are They Baiting Cannabis Consumers?
It seems as if PA is baiting cannabis consumers to get busted. I mean, let’s look at it for a second. PA is famous for Hershey’s chocolate, Philly subs, and Phillies Blunts. I mean, come on, man! Not cool, PA! Possession of 30g or less of cannabis is a misdemeanor that carries 30 days in jail and a max fine of $500. More than 30g of cannabis, and it’s still a misdemeanor, but the jail time increases to one year, and the max fine jumps up to $5,000. It would be a really bad day to have 30.5 grams or more and get caught with it in this draconian state.
In a time where law enforcement seems to be getting overzealous with the serve-and-protect mentality, you’d think departments across the nation would be wanting to build community relations instead of continuing to tear them down. While cannabis arrests totaled 20,200 people, the total arrests for all other substances combined were only 17,425!
Instead of busting people for cannabis, the state would focus its energy on other things like fighting violent crime. PA needs a change, and there is only one way to make that happen. Make your voice heard and contact the elected officials who are actively blocking cannabis reform. Medical cannabis is great, but people in America deserve equality. Cannabis should be legal for everyone everywhere, not just in certain states and for those with certain medical conditions. In the meantime, we implore Pennsylvania residents to get their medical cannabis cards and make efforts to follow the laws in place.
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