- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The mayor of Philadelphia, the fifth-most populous city in the nation, threw his weight behind legalizing marijuana Monday as a means to divert law enforcement resources toward more pivotal policing efforts.

Democratic Mayor Jim Kenney suggested ending the state’s pot prohibition Monday after learning that local law enforcement planned for two months prior to raiding a pot-smoking party at an area warehouse over the weekend.

“I just think the amount of resources that were put into it may have been a little overkill,” Mr. Kenney told Philly.com. “The real solution is to legalize it in the state of Pennsylvania, as they did in Colorado, [so] we won’t have to use police resources in these kinds of activities.”

Police confiscated $50,000 worth of cash and about 50 pounds of marijuana-infused edibles after raiding Saturday evening’s “smokeasy,” according to authorities. The event cost $50 to enter, and attendees were welcomed to smoke, consume and purchase cannabis products, the PhillyVoice reported.

Twenty-two attendees were arrested and another 175 were released without charge.

“It’s clearly illegal to sell in those quantities,” Mr. Kenney said, albeit not without expressing reservations about how the raid unfolded.

“Probably there was another way to play it off, as opposed to the amount of resources that were put into this,” he said. “Especially considering our ongoing relationship with that community.”

Philadelphia decriminalized marijuana possession in 2014, in turn reducing penalties for individuals caught with small amounts of pot. Smoking weed in public is still illegal, however, as is buying and selling marijuana from dispensaries or at venues such as Saturday’s event.

While eight states and the nation’s capital have passed laws allowing adults to buy and consume recreational marijuana, Pennsylvania has failed so far to follow suit. A medical marijuana law enacted in April, meanwhile, puts the Keystone State in the majority of the nation where doctors can recommend pot to patients with certain ailments.

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