Cannabis Legalization Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania

Under a bipartisan cannabis legalization proposal unveiled in Pennsylvania last week, adults 21+ would be allowed to possess and purchase cannabis products. The proposal also contains expungement provisions for nonviolent cannabis criminal convictions.

Full story after the jump.

A bill to legalize cannabis for adults was introduced in Pennsylvania last week. The bipartisan legislation would legalize cannabis possession and retail sales and includes expungement provisions for nonviolent cannabis criminal charges. 

The measure was introduced in the Senate by Democratic Sen. Sharif Street and Republican Sen. Dan Laughlin. 

In a press release, Street described the bill as a “singular opportunity to correct decades of mass incarceration, disproportionate enforcement against marginalized communities, the criminalization of personal choice, and the perpetuation of violence.” 

“Legalizing the adult use of cannabis will help us fully and equitably fund education, lower property taxes, and address a variety of community needs throughout Pennsylvania,” Street said in a statement. 

The measure includes an 8% sales tax and a 5% excise tax. The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office has estimated that legal cannabis sales could generate between $400 million to $1 billion in new tax revenue for the state. 

“Legalized adult use of marijuana is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians and this legislation accomplishes that while also ensuring safety and social equity. With neighboring states New Jersey and New York implementing adult use, we have a duty to Pennsylvania taxpayers to legalize adult-use marijuana to avoid losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue and thousands of new jobs.” — Laughlin in a statement 

The measure includes safeguards on marketing toward children and gives law enforcement the means to adjudicate driving under the influence and the authority to pursue and eradicate any illicit market.  

The measure also includes home grow provisions for medical cannabis patients. 

The measure was referred to the Senate’s Law and Justice Committee on July 6. 

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