PENNSYLVANIA (WETM) – New legislation was unveiled to decriminalize, regulate and tax adult-use marijuana in Pennsylvania.
Introduced by State Representatives Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) and Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), the bill would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to purchase and consume recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. It would also impact the state’s current prison population.
“This bill would, within 75 days, release those who are nonviolent offenders who have cannabis-related charges in our correctional facilities,” Rep. Wheatley told 18 News. “They’ll also automatically expunge the records without [incarcerated individuals] having to go through our very long, burdensome, pardons process.”
The bill could also generate close to $400-million in revenue. The money collected from that marijuana sales tax would fund multiple grant programs that would benefit small, minority and women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania, according to the bill. Co-sponsors of the bill said the end goal for the state representatives is to have the legislation provide lasting economic and social justice impacts for the commonwealth.
Representatives in the Northern Tier argue that legalizing recreational pot would cause more harm than good, a statement the bill co-sponsors refute.
“They may be seeing revenue, but the additional issues that come along with it social issues that cost the state a lot of money are very expensive, as well,” Rep. Clint Owlett said.
Owlett told 18 News that he and the county he represents would not support the bill.
The bill is facing an uphill battle in the Pennsylvania State Legislature, though if it does make it to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, he said he would sign it.