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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Leach Challenge Kennedy to Marijuana Debate

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) today sent an open letter to former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, inviting him to publicly debate marijuana policy.

Leach is the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 528, which would legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania. He is the co-prime sponsor of Senate Bill 1182, which would regulate medical marijuana in the Commonwealth.

Kennedy’s group opposes these measures and has fought policies like these across the United States.

Leach’s open letter to Kennedy:

I am a state Senator in Pennsylvania and the prime sponsor of two pieces of legislation related to marijuana. Senate Bill 1182, which I have co-prime sponsored with Senator Mike Folmer, would regulate medical cannabis in our Commonwealth. Senate Bill 528 would legalize recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania.

I have spent a great deal of time debating and speaking about these issues across Pennsylvania and nationally. I have enclosed a recent editorial I wrote on recreational cannabis.

I see that a Mr. Kevin Sabat is scheduled to visit my state on behalf of your organization to speak at a “Town Hall Meeting” in Altoona. I feel fairly secure in the belief that your message and mine are in profound disagreement. It seems to me that the public would be best served by an open debate on this important topic. Therefore, I am challenging you, or a representative of your organization, to debate me on statewide television about the appropriate public policies on marijuana-related issues.

I have conducted similar statewide debates about other issues that I have worked on, including one on marriage equality with Maggie Gallagher, the President of the National Organization for Marriage. I can assure you the debate will be well-attended and will be conducted in a civil, professional and fair manner.

If you are willing to defend your positions in a public forum, please let me know what dates might work for you. I will have my staff handle all of the planning and logistics. The debate could occur at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Harrisburg Area Community College, or, if you prefer, another venue in any part of the state. When you’re ready to discuss the details, call me at my King of Prussia office. The phone number there is 610-768-4200. You can also email me directly at dleach@pasenate.com.

Let’s give people a chance to hear both sides of the debate so that they can decide, for themselves, whether or not the legalization of marijuana would be good for Pennsylvania and America.

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