Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf included marijuana legalization in his list of 2021 legislative priorities. In an agenda released Thursday Wolf said enacting the cannabis policy change should be part of the state’s economic recovery and would promote social equity as well.
The Democratic governor referred to the neighboring states as a significant reference for moving toward legalization, he said “Pennsylvania cannot afford to be left behind.”
“Legalizing adult-use cannabis has strong bipartisan support among Pennsylvanians,” the governor’s agenda states. “The revenue generated from legalization will be used to support historically disadvantaged small businesses through grant funding and provide them the assistance they need to build back from the economic crisis and strengthen our economy.”
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According to a report from marijuanamoment.net, Wolf who came out in favor of adult-use legalization in 2019, said in the new agenda that the state will also use part of the tax revenue from cannabis sales to “support restorative justice programs to help the individuals and communities that have been adversely harmed by the criminalization of marijuana.”
Establishing a regulated cannabis market will build on the state’s success in enacting a medical marijuana program in 2017, the governor said.
Since adopting a pro-legalization position, Wolf has repeatedly called on the Republican-controlled legislature to pursue the reform.
In September, he criticized the Republican-controlled legislature for failing to act on reform in the previous session. And in August, he suggested that the state itself could control marijuana sales rather than just licensing private retailers, as other legalized jurisdictions have done.
A policy change
A short time after the governor announced he was adopting the policy change, a legislator introduced a bill for marijuana legalization through a statewide model.
Most Senate Democrats sent Wolf a letter in July arguing that lawmakers should pursue the policy change in order to generate revenue to offset losses from the pandemic.