Governor Tom Wolf has declared his ambition to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania and he called upon the legislature to make it happen.
Wolf urged lawmakers to get a bill on his desk that would decriminalize nonviolent cannabis-related offenses and expunge past convictions. He also challenged the General Assembly to seriously debate and consider the legalization of adult-use, recreational marijuana.
“We now know the majority of Pennsylvanians are in favor of legalization, and that includes me,” said Gov. Wolf. He added that criminal justice reforms and expungements of prior convictions would have a positive impact on thousands of families.
Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has just completed a 93-day tour of 67 counties across Pennsylvania. Members of the public, media representatives, and local elected officials gathered in each county to hear Fetterman speak, and they were asked if they support the legalization of adult-use cannabis.
He said that in all but a handful of counties the majority of attendees raised their hands in favour of legalization. He added that 68% of people in Pennsylvania approve of legalization.
Residents expressed near-unanimous support for decriminalization and mass expungement of nonviolent and small cannabis-related offenses. People see economic potential, according to Fetterman’s report, as cultivation in Pennsylvania would create jobs and the state would save money in prosecuting cannabis-related offenses.
Fetterman said that support does not appear to be contained to certain demographics or party affiliations. However, a press release from the House Republican leadership team said that “our caucus has no plans or interest in legalizing recreational marijuana”.
Marijuana is fully legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania is one of 22 states that have legalized medicinal marijuana, but not recreational marijuana.
As of last month, there were 180,000 patients and 20,000 caregivers registered with the Pennsylvania’s medicinal marijuana program. That figure has shot up after it added anxiety to the list of qualifying conditions.
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