Our opinion: Confusion on marijuana policies | News, Sports, Jobs

Youngsville’s decision to consider an ordinance to regulate possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia is a direct of the mixed signals being sent by state and county officials.

It’s time for everyone to be on the same page.

First, state officials need to make a decision – soon – whether marijuana use will be legal in the commonwealth. That is a controversial decision that won’t make everyone happy.

But the dilly dallying from Harrisburg is putting lower levels of government in a bind especially as neighboring states legalize marijuana.

Second, district attorneys who often dismiss or plea bargain marijuana possession to lower levels of offense send the wrong signal to police agencies that are working to enforce Pennsylvania’s current law.

The frustration from police agencies is understandable even if one thinks police shouldn’t spend much time on low-level marijuana cases. They are, after all, enforcing the laws as they are currently written and want to see the district attorney do the same.

The situation is made worse by Warren County District Attorney Rob Greene’s public advocacy on behalf of marijuana use in December and his federal lawsuit seeking to be both a medical marijuana user and to own firearms. Cases that Greene would have handled with a plea bargain or a dismissal at this time last year are seen differently in light of Greene’s public statements – including by those making the decisions in Youngsville.

In our view, it would be better for Youngsville officials to start with an ordinance that limits marijuana use near parks and recreation facilities or other public places, particularly those frequented by children. And we once again call on state legislators to make a decision on recreational marijuana one way or the other and put an end to this will they or won’t they uncertainty that creates so much confusion at the local level.

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