Pennsylvania state Rep. Jake Wheatley plans to introduce a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis and expunge the records of people convicted of minor cannabis crimes, according to a report by the Pittsburgh CityPaper.
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis market launched in February. Earlier this month, the Auditor General of Pennsylvania released a report indicating that an adult-use market would generate $581 million in revenue for the state — far more than a closed medical market — in addition to saving on enforcement costs.
“States from coast to coast have embraced legalization and those states are reaping the economic and criminal justice benefits. It is time Pennsylvania joins with those states in leaving behind the ugly stigma of marijuana.” — Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Hill District), in a statement
Several prominent lawmakers and officials in Pennsylvania, such as Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, support cannabis legislation. A poll from Franklin & Marshall College in September 2017 found that 59 percent of Pennsylvanians favored adult-use cannabis legalization.
The primary obstacle to enacting any legalization legislation is Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, who — although he is a supporter of medical cannabis — has not signed on for a full adult-use market. State House of Representatives Speaker Mike Turzai, a vocal cannabis opponent, is also a roadblock to adult-use reforms.
House Republicans spokesperson Stephen Miskin pointed to intoxicated driving and speculative revenue numbers to explain the Party’s opposition.
“Legalizing marijuana? Why not legalize heroin, why not legalize cocaine?” — Stephen Miskin, spokesperson for the Pennsylvania House Republicans, via Pittsburgh CityPaper
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