Philadelphia DA Won’t Prosecute Marijuana DUIs, Places Emphasis on Cannabis for Opioid Addiction Treatment

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner stated that he will not prosecute cannabis DUIs. Krasner spoke on April 29, 2019, before a joint House and Senate policy committee in Harrisburg, PA.

Krasner said, ”Pennsylvania has had the dumbest law on DUI for cannabis for a very long time,” explaining that currently, any presence of THC in the blood will constitute a DUI.

“So in other words, if I smoked a joint 30 days ago, it has absolutely no psychoactive effect whatsoever on anything I am doing, and I drive a car, then I am driving under the influence. This is absurd,” says District Attorney Larry Krasner

As Pennsylvania recently allowed medical marijuana, Krasner said further prosecuting cannabis DUIs at this point would mean that people medicating for neuropathy or other diseases wouldn’t be able to drive.

Krasner explained that the DA’s office will only prosecute cannabis DUIs if an individual shows repeated offenses of psychoactive levels of cannabis in their system “that rise to a level which is generally scientifically been agreed upon as affecting driving.”

Krasner, who campaigned heavily on criminal justice reform and adult use cannabis in Pennsylvania, addressed the room about cannabis being less harmful than other substances.

“The reality is that people want to relax. And when you have a substance that does virtually no harm, and every alternative to it — alcohol in particular — does enormous amounts of harm, what sense does it make to act like that is a terrible substance?” said Krasner.

The Philly DA also spoke against the District Attorney’s Association.

Krasner said the Association was responsible for an 800% increase in Pennsylvania’s jail population, adding that the Association is relying on pseudoscience to base claims about cannabis increasing numbers of fatal car crashes. Krasner likened the District Attorney’s Association’s pseudoscience to Richard Nixon’s war on drugs which was implemented to “go after people who were opposed to the war and Blacks.”

Krasner went on to explain that states which have legalized cannabis have seen as much as a 25% decrease in opioid-related deaths.

Philadelphia has the largest number of opioid-related deaths in the United States, with more than 1,000 per year. The number of opioid deaths in Philadelphia is four times the city’s homicide rate. Krasner told the House and Senate that cannabis is an effective treatment for opioids.

“I have a problem in Philadelphia, and that problem is we have a terrible situation with opioids, and so does Allegheny County, among others. It is a terrible situation. I need to have marijuana readily available in order to reduce the number of fatal overdoses. We have almost four fatal overdoses a day,” stated Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Krasner wants prosecutors to take an intelligent approach to cannabis regulation. He believes that using cannabis revenues, Philadelphia can improve their public schools which would further reduce crime in the city.

Featured image via Medium.