Over 100 marijuana supporters rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday in support of its legalization in Pennsylvania. The rally was held as part of the April 20 or 4/20 celebration of the national holiday for cannabis culture.
The event was attended by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who has been outspoken about legalization, as well as two state senators who introduced a bill to that end.
According to Pennlive, the rally started with a meeting of supporters at Front and State streets, where they waved flags and signs and held up large banners with slogans like “#LegalizePA.” Then, they marched up State Street to the Capitol.
“We’re here to march and be heard and demand legalization for everyone in Pennsylvania,” said John Wronski of Lehigh Valley NORML. “It’s here for everyone.” After the cheering crowd arrived at the Capitol, Fetterman greeted them with a “Happy 4/20,” getting an even louder cheer.
The state’s lieutenant governor and two senators from different parties are supporting efforts that would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Pennsylvania and expunge the criminal records of those who have been convicted of marijuana-related crimes.
Fetterman introduced Yoko Miyashita, CEO of Leafly, a Seattle-based marijuana marketplace. Miyashita said her company’s annual Cannabis Jobs Report showed the marijuana industry added 77,000 new jobs in the U.S. in 2020.
She explained to the supporters that if Pennsylvania fully legalizes adult use, it would create 17,000 to 31,000 new, full-time jobs in the state, bringing in an estimated $2 billion to $3 billion in annual sales during the first three to five years with $520 million in tax revenue.
Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie County, and Sen. Sharif Street, D-Philadelphia attended the rally to discuss their bill, which includes legalization for recreational use.
Jobs and freedom
Laughlin said this bill is about creating jobs and bringing in revenue. The legalization is also about freedom, and stopping the waste of resources that is harming of lives of the 20,000 Pennsylvanians who are charged each year in marijuana-related offenses.
His co-sponsor, Street, told the marijuana supporters, “The time to end the prohibition of cannabis has come. We are proposing that anyone who has ever been convicted of a cannabis crime can have their record sealed and the opportunity to have it expunged.”
The crowd of supporters cheered loudly as Street said, “Let’s end the prohibition now and keep the revenue in Pennsylvania.”