Pennsylvania Spends $2.5 Million Annually on Nonviolent Marijuana Offenders

The auditor general for Pennsylvania, Eugene DePasquale, is urging the state legislature to pass a bill legalizing medical marijuana due to fiscal concerns related to the imprisonment of nonviolent marijuana offenders.

According to the York Daily Record, Pennsylvania's Department of Corrections currently spends around $2.5 million annually to house 97 people imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana offenses, which equals about $25,700 per inmate. 

"Whether it's $2 or $2.5 million, it is a waste of money, in my opinion, to arrest people for this," DePasquale said in a plea to lawmakers to pass the state's pending medical marijuana legislation.

"We need to focus on putting violent criminals in jail, not nonviolent offenders," York City Police Chief Wes Kahley told

Senate Bill 3, which would create a medical marijuana program similar to Colorado's, is scheduled to be considered by the state House of Representatives next week. The bill contains medical conditions such as cancer, seizures, HIV and multiple sclerosis.

(Photo Courtesy of The Daily Chronic)

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