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Pennsylvania Governor Motivates Legislator to Propose Adult-Use Cannabis Legalization

October 10, 2019

In late September, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf came out publicly in support of adult-use cannabis legalization, consequently, lawmakers wasted no time in drafting legislation. When the Governor made his support known, he essentially gave the green light to State Representative David Delloso who has already brought forth a proposal for legalizing recreational marijuana.

Regulating Cannabis Like Alcohol

The newly proposed adult-use cannabis legalization bill would actually amend a 1951 law regulating the sales of alcohol to include provisions for the sale of cannabis. Many of the regulations are similar in scope to the way many states regulate alcoholic beverages. 

Consumers who want to buy cannabis products must be 21 years old and provide government issued ID to prove their age. As with alcohol, cannabis regulations stipulate that “Driving under the influence of cannabis” is illegal.

Cannabis Tax Revenue

One of the biggest motivations for adult-use cannabis legalization is the significant influx of jobs and tax revenue that the industry would create. If this amendment is approved, it’s estimated that cannabis sales add more than 18,000 jobs and generate over $580 million in tax revenue. 

Representative David Delloso pointed out that adult-use cannabis would be “well taxed and well regulated to protect the kids. When I was a kid, you knew what bars would sell you a six-pack, but you knew that no matter how hard you tried, you weren’t getting out of a state store with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.”

Amendment Doesn’t Decriminalize Cannabis

While this amendment would make it legal for state stores to sell recreational cannabis, it would not decriminalize home cultivation or sales by individuals. This would remain illegal in an effort to forbid “criminal actors” who are employed at “legitimate, State-operated stores.” Currently cultivating cannabis plants and selling over 30 grams of dried flower are felonies punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

While having the support of the Governor is helpful, it doesn’t do much to convince Republican legislators who currently hold the majority in the Pennsylvania legislature. Even though they’ve been more receptive to medical marijuana doesn’t mean they’ll vote for adult-use cannabis legalization. Hopefully they will see the financial benefits outweigh any negative aspects that can be controlled with regulation and preventative measures.