Pennsylvania state Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) and 25 cosponsors have introduced cannabis legalization legislation into the state Congress that contains several strong social justice initiatives including a proposal to cure student debt with legalization profits, according to a Civilized report.
Pennsylvania House Bill 50 would allow any adult 21 or older to grow, purchase, or possess cannabis via a state-regulated system. It includes provisions for expungement and would immediately release from prison any person incarcerated for a cannabis-related crime.
40 percent of the revenue generated by the program would fund affordable housing and 10 percent would be used to invest in after-school care programs for students. After that, the remaining half of the program’s profits would be used to reduce student loan debts in the state.
“There’s a social justice component because we want to make sure people understand this is not just about cannabis. It’s about making sure that we are righting some of the wrongs of the failed war on drugs.” — Rep. Jake Wheatley, at a press conference, via Civilized
While it’s unclear how the bill, sponsored mostly by the Democratic party, will fare in the Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Congress, Gov. Tom Wolf supports the bill — a boost over a similar bill introduced last year that failed.
Last May, the state implemented a program to help opioid users switch to medical cannabis and made it easier for colleges to conduct cannabis research.