Pennsylvania lawmakers introduce bill to legalize adult use of Marijuana
HARRISBURG - Two Pennsylvania state senators introduced legislation to legalize adult use of marijuana in the state.
The bipartisan bill, SB 846, sets 21 as the minimum age for use with deterrence measures to prevent people under the age of 21 from using it.
"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," said one of the bill's sponsors, Republican Sen. Dan Laughlin.
Laughlin also said the bill would ensure "safety and social equity."
"We have a unique and singular opportunity to correct decades of mass incarceration, disproportionate enforcement against marginalized communities, the criminalization of personal choice and the perpetuation of violence, which all materialized from the failed war on drugs," said the bill's other sponsor, Democrat Sharif Street. “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.”
According to the lawmakers, the bills would also do the following:
- Regarding social equity, the legislation would grant licenses to sell marijuana to social and economic equity applicants while providing room for new and existing licensees to ensure demand in Pennsylvania is met.
- SB 846 also looks to strengthen Pennsylvania's agricultural industry by empowering farmers and craft growers across the state to engage in the cultivation of marijuana in a manner that is safe and regulated.
- The bill would allow Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana patients to grow a limited number of cannabis plants from their home for personal use to help ease the cost and accessibility burdens.
- The bill expunges non-violent marijuana convictions for medical marijuana patients.
- The bill would also expunge all non-violent marijuana convictions.
"During state budget hearings held in 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee was told by the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office that legalized adult-use marijuana could generate $400 million to $1 billion in new tax revenue for the Commonwealth," a statement from the lawmakers said.