Toohil-Gate: It’s the Hypocrisy, Not the Possible Pot Use — and Why Is She Against Medical Marijuana?

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About the widely viewed video montage of state Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne County) (please note: I had nothing to do with creating or posting the video, and I have no idea who did, either) —

Some people have been saying how terrible it is and that it has no place in the campaign. The problem with that is, Toohil took two very relevant public stands just two years ago:

against decriminalizing “the possession of small amounts of marijuana,” (click the plus sign at this link:”Crime and Public Safety Issues“) and

against “allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes,” (see Health Issues)

As of Wednesday night, PoliticsPA was the only media outlet to mention her stand against marijuana decriminalization. The other relevant issue position — medical marijuana — had gone unreported, as best I can tell.

Interestingly, I could not immediately find a clear position from Toohil on civil marriage equality, civil unions or other legal protections for people in same-sex relationships, which has been the subject of some speculation online since the video appeared. She apparently did not answer the questions about same-sex partners’ rights on the 2010 non-partisan Project Vote Smart survey or this year’s survey from the far-right “Pennsylvania Family Institute.” (You can see her few responses to the PFI survey – 2 questions out of 13 – by entering her district office address into the mandatory address form.)

And in May 2012, after President Obama announced his support for civil marriage equality, a Wilkes-Barre newspaper asked the area’s state legislators for their positions on it. Toohil essentially ducked the question:

“There is currently no same-sex marriage legislation being considered in Pennsylvania at this time. Instead, the focus for me and my House Republican colleagues has been job creation by reducing taxes and enacting reforms that lower the cost of doing business in Pennsylvania. We are also working on implementing real property tax reform to relieve the burden placed on many of our senior citizens on fixed incomes who are struggling to make their tax payments,” Toohil responded.

If someone has documentation that Toohil has taken a stand like opposing civil unions or marriage equality, or supporting the insertion of an anti-gay “marriage amendment” into the state constitution,  by all means feel free to provide the link(s) in the comments or tweet it at me (@BenAtLarge). (She is NOT a co-sponsor of Daryl Metcalfe’s “marriage amendment.”) I won’t be able to respond immediately, but I’ll check this evening.

But without a relevant stand from her on same-sex issues, it looks like the focus should be on whether or not she’s a hypocrite on marijuana — based on stands she took when she successfully ran for the legislature just two years ago.

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A reminder of what the Keystone Politics roundup of guest blogger introductions mentioned earlier this month: I blog at KP on my *own* time. As you can guess, that means any opinions I express here are my own, not of my employer.

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