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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Legalizing marijuana, same sex marriage, assault weapon limits -- Sen Daylin Leach

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 15, 2013 4:12 PM

Radio Smart Talk for Wednesday, January 16:

marijuana plants 300 x 170.jpg

Pennsylvania has a reputation as a conservative state.  Change, especially when it involves social issues, comes slowly.

With that in mind, can you picture a day when marijuana would be fully legal in Pennsylvania  -- either for medical or recreational purposes?

State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) can.  Sen. Leach has proposed legalizing marijuana and regulating its sale and usage much like alcohol.  Only those over the age of 21 could buy pot and driving under it's influence would be a crime.

Thumbnail image for Leach  300 x 170.jpg

Leach will be a guest on Wednesday's Radio Smart Talk to discuss a range of issues, including his proposal to legalize marijuana.  By the way, Gov. Tom Corbett has already promised to veto the bill if it ever made it to his desk, saying marijuana is a gateway drug and leads to more drug abuse.

Leach is almost the polar opposite of Corbett on social issues.  Regular Radio Smart Talk listeners heard the governor's views on a number of topics two weeks ago.  On Wednesday, they can hear Leach and his thoughts on issues that include same-sex marriage and gun laws.

Listen to the program:


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  • Robert D Colgan img 2013-01-16 09:09

    Keep it simple.
    Just decriminalize marijuana.
    As for "regulation"-------that's only going to allow the law enforcement authorities to continue to wage their ridiculous "War On Drugs" which has done nothing but create a "cat & mouse" game for the judicial system.

    We have a huge number of people in America who make their living from the pursuit, capture, prosecution, and incarceration/monitoring of lawbreakers------ the game as it's often played has little to do with successful societal intervention to alter behavior, to help people move away from harmful practices, or to make society better.
    It's about profit. Paychecks. Game playing: "good guys/bad guys."

    Commonsense got thrown out the window in America.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:15

    Email from Susan,

    If Governor Corbet has stated that he would veto this bill, why waste time and money on this now?
    Don't we have some more important issues to deal with right now?
    I would suggest you wait until the administration changes next term.

  • Bob Nunn img 2013-01-16 09:16

    Governor Corbett calls Marijuana a gateway drug.

    A very similar statement could be said about beer. Beer is a gateway beverage to harder alcoholic beverages. Given that many youths start with drinking beer and the governors' concern about gateway items why isn't he pushing to make beer illegal.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:36

    Email from Manuel,

    Comparing gun control to marijuana is incorrect. We criminalize and want to control the people who smoke marijuana. However, we demonize and want to control the product of firearms. However, there is no amendment to the Constitution directly referencing marijuana. Unless you raise the issue of this being a “pursuit of happiness” issue, I cannot find it.

    As a Conservative libertarian, we need to de-criminalize and tax marijuana, and stop the persecution of BOTH gun owners and users, and marijuana owners, growers, and users. Neither of these issues is something the government has any business doing.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:37

    Email from Listener 1,

    I am happy to hear you are having Mr. Leach speak on your show about legalizing marijuana today.

    I just wanted to say that "I know this guy" who is a 52 year old business professional that has been smoking pot since he was in college at age 17. He is a successful business person, he employs other people, does a good job with his business, and enjoys relaxing by smoking pot a couple of times per week.

    Alcohol gives him a headache therefore marijuana is his drug of choice. By all normal societal measures he is a successful person other than his pot use. He knows a whole bunch of people who have similar views that are not "criminals" other than their recreational use of marijuana. He only ever buys locally grown pot in very small quantities. Therefore he is not in any way subsidizing the drug violence in Mexico.

    He and his other friends do not use other hard drugs and the idea of pot being a gateway drug is no more valid than the idea that "milk" is a gateway drink to hard drug use because all hard drug users used to drink milk.

    If pot were legalized and taxed like alcohol it would provide revenue to the state and tremendously take away the power of the drug cartels all over the world. The war on pot is as "successful" as the war on alcohol during the prohibition. I know this person would not come out and publicly say this because he would be admitting to being a criminal in the eyes of the law.

    Anyone who went over the speed limit on their drive to work today is also breaking the law. Granted speed limit laws are not considered as severe as laws against marijuana use and I would then ask well what laws should we really be focusing on then.

    Thank you for allowing me to add this voice to the chorus of those who believe that the war on pot is nonproductive and flat out wrong.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:38

    Email from Jeremy,

    I'm not sure this will fly here for another 25 years, but I don’t think it is much of stretch to suggest marijuana becoming legal in New York in the next decade.

    Given that coupled with the fact we have the largest agricultural output of any state, it would seem logical to allow Pennsylvanian’s to grow it for sale to states who have legalized it. I can see something along the lines of where we currently are with the sale of fireworks.

    They can be sold in Pennsylvania, just not to residents of Pennsylvania.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:38

    Email from Spencer,

    I can personally attest that the way marihuana is ingested is no doubt as risky and hazardous as smoking cigarettes. This has never been part of the legalization discussion.

    • Daylin Leach img 2013-01-16 10:27

      Yet cigarettes are legal;

      • Pheelingphine img 2013-01-19 02:58

        Senator Leach, I am so happy to have you representing us here in pa. As i'm sure you know a large majority of Pennsylvanian's favor at the very least medicinal marijuana, But you can hardly tell when reading threw these comments, must be a pretty conservative site. Anyway i'm glad to see you aren't giving up the good fight. If these conservative's commenting here ever read or thought about this issue much they may have a more informed approach. In the last 6 years we've spent over 300 million prosecuting Cannabis offenses, think of that when the school down the street closes because of deep cuts not to mention the revenue that could be collected, jobs and so on. You people know that we are inherently rebellious, you tell somebody not to do something it makes them curious and they usually end up trying that very thing. Cannabis has never been a gateway drug, it's gained this stigma simply because of prohibition. If you could go to your neighborhood dispensary to purchase Cannabis, then you may never try anything harder because it's the dealers that sell illegal drugs that push them to try the next thing up, obviously we can break that chain. The main reason it has not been legal the last 70 something years is the pharmaceutical industry and their powerful lobby. Anybody that doubts the benefits of Cannabis need only look at the latest studies to see it is amazing. It does not cause COPD, has antiTumor effects, helps people with Epilepsy to stop having seizures, i could literally go on and on. Please people wake up they don't want us to have it cause it's to good, no lie. Thanks

    • KarenT. img 2013-01-26 18:02

      You are incorrect about cannabis being worse than cigarettes. Please see this study:

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:40

    Email from Sally

    I echo that I will work for anyone that will run against our current sitting governor The states that have passed laws allowing the sane usage of pot will be rolling in tax money to take care of their state Legalizing pot will have us rolling in tax monies.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 09:59

    Email from Manuel,

    Didn’t we have this EXACT same argument about allowing gambling… And what do we currently have right up the road from Harrisburg???

    • Daylin Leach img 2013-01-16 10:28

      You have a place where people can gamble if they wish, or not go to if they don't wish to gamble. It's called freedom.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 10:04

    Email from Marty,

    Although I don't smke marijuana, I also do NOT agree with prohibitions that don't make sense and that result in criminalization...

    HOWEVER, the one thing that makes me nervous is the thought of people attempting to drive a vehicle while under the inducement of marijuana...

    Finally, I question your analogy of using marijuana just to "take off the edge"... alcohol (particularly wine and beer) fall under the heading of "food" and, when injested sensibly, generally does NOT result in "taking the edge off", i.e. they heighten the dining experience in terms of taste but they do NOT generally result in a buzz... similarly, smoking a good cigar from time to time for the enjoyment of the taste is not the same as "taking the edge off"... but, smoking a joint has only one purpose, that being the buzz... sure, there are those that knock back more than one drink to experience a buzz... but, that is just one option with alcohol and many enjoy a drink for the taste but do not acquire a buzz as the result of that drink... hnowever, every puff of a joint, from the first to the last, are meant so that the smoker can attain a buzz...

    • Daylin Leach img 2013-01-16 10:26

      I guess you are right about people drinking wine to enhance a dining experience. But many people, me included, have had wine to "take the edge off" as well. The point is that wine drinkers have the option. Pot users, using pot for whatever reason they use it, should not be treated as criminals for making a different decision.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 10:04

    Email from James,

    As a kid growing up in rural Indiana, it was so much easier to get pot than beer, or even cigarettes. Becuase it was illegal and you didn't need a buddy with an ID. You just needed to know a guy. I think legalizatin would make it harder for young kids (teens) to get their hands on.

    I'm wondering what the senator is proposing for the production of Marijuana. Who will be cultivating this for the state stores and hw will that work? Thanks

  • Robert D Colgan img 2013-01-16 10:05

    A pleasure to listen to Sen Leach's intelligent articulation.

    I've been impressed with him since he first entered the legislature---I don't always fully agree with his views, but find him a sensible person who seems to love PA and who wants nothing but the best for his constituents.

    Run for Gov, Daylin.
    We could use someone like you in that bully seat.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-01-16 10:05

    Email from Josh in Paxtonia,

    Good morning, I would like to ask this Senator to please run for the next US Present. We need his ambitions in the whitehouse.

    I do not smoke marijuana but I strongly agree to legalize it.

    Form listening this morning this senator would be a huge asset to the American people if he were to run.

    • Daylin Leach img 2013-01-16 10:24

      Thank you I am flattered. I'll file my Presidential Exploratory Committee papers by the end of the week ;)

  • C. M. Blanken img 2013-01-16 10:12

    Is not it a fact that a regular user of marijuana leeds to the expementing with other more addietive drugs? Do we not have enough problems growing up without introducing another hurdle.

    It would be nice if our "Educated" representives could hold a conversation without using the term "You Know" throughout there comments.

    • Daylin Leach img 2013-01-16 10:20

      No, it is not a fact that Marijuana leads to experimenting with more addictive drugs. Well over 90% of pot users never use more addictive drugs, and of those people who do use heroin or cocaine, they are far more likely to have drank alcohol in the past. Yet we don't ban alcohol.

  • thinkwrite img 2013-01-18 23:33

    When I was in college I went to school with a lot of people who smoked dope. If it becomes legal, and that culture becomes widespread, our country will take another step down in its slide of cultural decline. We need a country filled with upright, honest and hard working people, people who can think and people who can function. You open this door and you will see more people on welfare, and unemployment, more costs to social services, and more poor people blowing what money that they DO have on this "harmless" substance. This is not about what is already legal, etc. etc.. There are already a lot of harmful things that are already legal, and adding another one is not positive direction for the United States and the state of PA.

  • KarenT. img 2013-01-26 18:05

    I listened to this broadcast today and was so impressed by how much Senator Leach knew about cannabis. I was happy to know, we still have a few very smart guys out there looking out for us all. Thanks Senator! All the way from Montana!

  • Budrick img 2013-01-27 20:37

    Thanks for the program. Eloquent and logical.
    Couldn't many of the arguments for legalization of marijuana be applicable to cocaine and heroin. In this free country shouldn't we be able to use these too if regulated in the same way alcohol is regulated?

  • FlowerChild img 2013-02-10 14:32

    I am a college student who started smoking a few years ago during my junior year of high school, and I still smoke very often. I graduated in the top 10% of my class and I have been on Dean's List every semester of college so far. Therefore, I believe it is completely untrue that smoking marijuana makes you lazy. To me, a lack of self-initiative is primarily what makes a person unsuccessful. I also do not use hard drugs like cocaine (and I've never tried it). Please stop the stereotypes and stigmas, Mr. Corbett!