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How close is legal marijuana in Pennsylvania?

There are five bills floating around the Pa. statehouse that refer to marijuana.

The majority of Pennsylvanians polled by Franklin & Marshall College believe all marijuana use should be legalized. The poll, which The Morning Call reported on yesterday, found 56 percent of voters said yes to legalizing cannabis.

Whatever you want to call it, it's all cannabis — and it's high time for it in Pennsylvania, a Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows.

Does the legislature agree?

Well, that depends upon the bill. There are five bills floating around the statehouse that refer to marijuana:

• Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, has introduced a resolution that would urge the federal government to "renew the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment." The amendment prevents the Department of Justice from using its funding to supercede state laws governing medical marijuana use, distribution, possession or cultivation.

• HB741, written by Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, addresses mandatory minimum sentences in drug convictions. The bill calls for a reduction in prison time, from five years to three years in a case where the defendant was found guilty of trafficking at least 50 pounds or 51 plants of marijuana. However, if the defendant has been convicted of another drug trafficking offense, the prison sentence remains five years. It was referred to the judiciary committee in April.

• House Resolution 250, written by Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Philadelphia, declares next week, May 14 through 20, "National Prevention Week" in Pennsylvania, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a period to increase public awareness of substance abuse and mental health issues with a focus on several issues including "prevention of illicit drug use and youth marijuana use."

• HB847, introduced by Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, was designed to increase the mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking offenses involving "significant amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin." It keeps marijuana's current status as an illegal substance as is. It was referred to the judiciary committee in March.

Contact reporter Matt Coughlin at

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