Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced an adult-use cannabis legalization bill that includes home cultivation, delivery, social-use and expungement, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The measure faces an uphill battle in the state – despite support from Gov. Tom Wolf (D) – as Republican members of the House of Representatives have said they have “no plans or interest” in the reforms.
Under the measure, adults would be allowed to cultivate up to 10 plants in their homes for a $50 annual fee and all grows in the state would be capped at 150,000 square feet – an attempt to keep large, corporate, growers from monopolizing the industry. Micro-grow permits – up to 150 plants – would cost $250 annually, compared to $10,000 for large-scale grows, along with a $100,000 application fee.
Bring-Your-Own-Cannabis social-use clubs are permitted under the legislation and could be attached to dispensaries. Those permits carry a $1,000 fee. Delivery service permits ($50) would allow cannabis home delivery by dispensary employees or independent contractors.
The criminal justice reforms in the bill are sweeping: all criminal convictions for what is legal under the law would be expunged, all those incarcerated would receive a commutation, all supervision – probation and parole – for those offenders would cease, and all pending criminal charges would be dismissed. The measure also includes $2 million in interest-free loans for low-income citizens with prior cannabis-related convictions who want to enter the space.
Taxes on cannabis products would be capped at 17.5 percent.
Patrick Nightingale, a Pittsburgh lawyer who support many cannabis causes, called it a “dream bill” but worried it would be blocked by Republican lawmakers.
“Some of them are claiming legalized marijuana causes an increase in homicides and violent crimes, and that it fuels the opioid crisis. If this is going to get passed, we’ll need to have an honest discussion and not mix it in with sky-is-falling and reefer madness rhetoric.” – Nightingale, to the Inquirer
In their September 25 statement, the House Republican Caucus cited the opioid epidemic as a reason not to support adult-use legalization.
“We do not believe easing regulations on illegal drugs is the right move in helping the thousands of Pennsylvanians who are battling drug addiction,” the statement says.
State Sen. Sharif Street (D), one of the sponsors, said he believed the bill “will ultimately be enacted and get wide Republican support.”