Will NY and NJ Cannabis Legalization Spread into Pennsylvania?
By Dalton Rosario
Today Pennsylvania Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) filed Bill HB50 to rectify years of abuses from the war on drugs, by granting residents aged 21 and over legal access to cannabis via licensed retailers, permitting its possession and consumption, and its home cultivation of up to 6 plants per household. As stated by Wheatley in a press release, “It’s about making sure that we are righting some of the wrongs of the failed war on drugs.” What this entails is immediate release of offenders serving jail time for cannabis-related arrests made prior to this legislation being passed, criminal record expungement for prior convictions and instilling policies of equity to make sure there is equality in the communities that stand to profit from regulating cannabis trade across the 57 counties that comprise of Pennsylvania.
Most notable are Wheatley’s proposed initiatives for the incurred tax revenues from the regulated industry. As outlined he would allocate 50% to be invested in student loan forgiveness programs for in-state tuition, 40% would be reserved for funding affordable housing programs and 10% would be invested in after school care programs for children. His enthusiasm for reformation has been shared by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) who agrees that legislation must be passed immediately or else nearby states that are further along swinging the pendulum of legalization will take advantage of the influx of market demand from customers commuting across state lines for cannabis tourism and adult recreational use. The Northeast Corridor has been booming with pro-cannabis legislation lately and the time to end state prohibition is now, or risk falling behind and losing a lot of tax revenues that can be used for the good of the people.