Taxpayers pay for Senator's pot trip

Pennsylvania's largest teachers union has endorsed state Sen. Daylin Leach in the Democratic primary for the 13th Congressional District. ( Charles Fox / Staff Photographer /File )

Democratic state Sen. Daylin Leach, of Montgomery County, charged taxpayers to travel along with three aides to Denver to check out Colorado's legalized marijuana industry -- and to get a taste of its product.

The trip cost taxpayers about $5,000. Not a ton of taxpayer dollars, granted. But about $5,000 more than it would have cost to read any of the ongoing, extensive accounts of Colorado's lawful doobie experience, which began six months ago.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports on the junket and quotes Leach saying, "No one paid for or charged the state for any smoke."

Taxpayers, however, funded flights, car rental, hotel and meals, the newspaper says.

Leach told the newspaper he took three aides along because they helped him write proposed legislation to legalize medical and recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.

The Harrisburg Patriot-News' website, PennLive, posted an op-ed piece from Leach in which he writes, "We packed as much information-gathering as we could into our three days. We toured two facilities where the marijuana is grown, one where it is processed, one where it is tested for potency and impurities and two dispensaries, which are essentially marijuana stores."

He did not mention sampling the legal marijuana in his op-ed article but told the Tribune-Review he had a taste using a vaporizer pen. You can read the newspaper's article here, including its catchy headline: "PA senator investigates Rocky Mountain high at taxpayers' expense."