Pennsylvania Senator Daylin Leach recently embarked on a three-day journey to Colorado where he and three members of his staff attempted to put a finger on the pulse of the legalized cannabis industry.
The goal of the trip was to explore how the state is handling legal marijuana now that the recreational market has been fully functional for eight months, and then attempt to translate their experience to other state lawmakers when Pennsylvania finally makes a push for pot.
“We’re voting on medical cannabis in the Senate in a couple of weeks,” Leach told CBS Pittsburgh. “I think recreational is coming within a couple of years. We want to make sure we get this right.”
During his visit, Leach explains that he and his staff visited several crucial aspects of Colorado’s legal marijuana market, including a couple of grow operations, a testing lab and two dispensaries where the senator admits that unlike President Clinton, he did, in fact, inhale.
“I took a couple of hits; I definitely felt something,” he said. “It’s less than I would have smoked when I was in high school, but I didn’t want to do anything else, maybe because I’m getting older or I haven’t done it for a long time and I’m a lightweight.”
In a recent op-ed piece for PennLive, Senator Leach writes in detail about what he learned on his $5,000 taxpayer funded retreat to the first state in America to legalize recreational marijuana. Despite the controversy, he says Colorado’s cannabis commerce offers vast economic opportunities by way of high paying jobs and astronomical tax revenues.
“This is all on top of the millions saved by not having to prosecute tens of thousands of people for marijuana offenses, said Leach.”
Regardless of the money, Leach says he was impressed by the professionalism displayed throughout the industry, adding that those who are serious about the business of marijuana have continued to thrive, while others have already begun to fall by the wayside.
“In Colorado, we met hard-working people doing honest labor, and happy citizens responsibly living their lives in a prosperous and healthy state,” wrote Leach, going on to explain what he describes as the insanity of prohibition. “The tragedy is that all of these people, every one of them would be criminals in Pennsylvania. We would arrest them, prosecute them, incarcerate some of them and ruin all of their lives. We’d kill their business and deny sick people medicine they need.”