New Bipartisan Bill to Legalize Marijuana Introduced in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Senators Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) have introduced bipartisan legislation, Senate Bill 846, to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania for those 21 and older.

The proposal is cosponsored by Senators Wayne Fontana and John Kane, and it was quickly assigned to the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

“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,” said Laughlin. “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.”

According to a press release, this 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.” Moreover, it expunges non-violent marijuana convictions for medical marijuana patients, and goes further to expunge all non-violent marijuana convictions.

“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,” Street said. “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.”

SB 846 also looks to “strengthen Pennsylvania’s robust 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. Additionally, it 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 that still exist for this important medicine.”

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.

You can find the full text of this new measure by clicking here.

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