Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe is determined to legalize recreational marijuana sales on his term as he pushes lawmakers to consider his proposal.
Gov. Wolfe showcased a plan to legalize the sales of recreational marijuana to provide the state with additional funding for pandemic relief. The additional taxes generated from the recreational market can aid businesses struggling with the pandemic, extend cash assistance to residents in need, and funding for frontline workers.
The proposal was put to a halt since the start of the pandemic, but Wolfe is eager to pass a law in Pennsylvania. On Thursday, Sept. 3, the governor urged the lawmakers to support the legislation in regulating the adult use of cannabis in the state.
In addition to pandemic funding, the generated taxes could also help with restorative justice in Pennsylvania. This has something to do with fixing the harm done for the crime victims. The governor has shown support for legalizing cannabis since September 2019.
Wolfe has taken a few years to express his opinion on the matter and jumped to support the legalization following Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s recommendation based on a recreational marijuana tour.
More than 10,300 people attended the tour and they’ve expressed great support for the adult-use in Pennsylvania. In addition to economic benefits, the legalization can also increase state funding for education or infrastructure, criminal justice, and now as an aid for frontline workers and low-income families.
Since 2019, Wolfe called on the lawmakers for three actions at the state level. First, he wants to produce a bill to decriminalize nonviolent and small cannabis-related offenses. Next is the path for restorative justice, and finally, a general assembly that would tackle the major points surrounding the recreational cannabis legalization.
Gov. Wolfe called on to lawmakers for a General Assembly to immediately act on legalizing marijuana. The assembly is set to happen this month, to come up with a strategic plan and authorize a bill that Wolfe can sign.
Meanwhile, House Republicans call Wolfe’s call for legalization inconsistent.
“Calling for the legalization of recreational marijuana is another inconsistency and contradiction from this governor who just recently renewed a disaster declaration for a drug overdose crisis that continues to devastate and destroy Pennsylvania’s families,” said House Minority Leader Jason Gottesman.
He added, “Instead of legalizing drugs as a way to tax and spend on new government programs, the governor should work with the General Assembly to help get Pennsylvanians safely back to work, get our children the best educational opportunities, and provide the return to normalcy Pennsylvanians long for.”
The Pennsylvania Family Institute also showed disappointment over Gov. Wolfe’s views on adult use of cannabis in the state. According to the organization, this legalization matter ‘would be a mistake especially during the pandemic.’
The institute said parents don’t need another thing on their plate to worry about. “It’s extremely discouraging that Gov. Tom Wolf would choose to push for the commercial sale of a dangerous and addictive drug,” stated the institute.
In addition, the organization also claims that the expenses for legalizing cannabis also exist, particularly the workplace safety cost and regulatory health care.
Capitalize on Marijuana Revenues
At the time of need, Wolfe showed more programs to help Pennsylvania residents to recover. His view on legalizing marijuana is valid, as the industry is huge. Entourage Effect Capital, a private equity firm focused on cannabis, showed support to the governor for capitalizing on marijuana revenues.
Codie Sanchez, a partner at the equity firm said billions of revenues can come from Pennsylvania cannabis legalization. With residents pushing for a bill to permit adult use of the drug, the authorities can jump on the demand and benefit from it. The taxes can go back to the communities and the state can get enough funding to sustain the residents’ needs amid the pandemic.
Sanchez also claims that if people can’t buy within their state, there’s no stopping to order from other states, including California, and Washington. After all, the illegal market is the one benefiting from the unregulated market in Pennsylvania. According to Entourage Effect Capital, the market worth $50 billion for the illegal market.
There’s also a question on the safety of the products from illegal sellers. If there are safer options available in the state, people can easily purchase without worrying about their health and welfare.
In addition, there’s always a concern about safety when dealing with illegal options. Violent offshoots can result from conflict, and this could be prevented with a legal establishment in place.
The illegal market can also avoid tapping minors and underage individuals. The key here is establishing a legal market that could be safer for people purchasing cannabis supplies.
If Pennsylvania arrived at recreational cannabis, it would be the 11th state to permit adult use in the United States.
At this time, the federal government also considers legalizing cannabis before the November election. Voting for the MORE Act commences on Sept. 21, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler. This bill aims to remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and excuse marijuana-related criminal records.
Nadler calls this move as a ‘historic vote’, marking the USA’s 40-year crusade with legalizing cannabis at the federal level, like what Canada has done in 2018.
National Affairs at Drug Policy Alliance director Maritza Perez also showed support to this move, stating that the bill could repair the damage caused by the war on drugs within the illegal market. Additionally, it is expected to create more jobs for the communities within the different states.
Meanwhile, the White House has changed its view on marijuana as the number of Americans supporting the drug increases. Whether recreational or medicinal, citizens are demanding the government to consider legalization and to remove it under the Schedule 1 drug list.
Only 11 states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult use of marijuana, and 33 states, including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands have legalized medical marijuana.