Representative Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) has introduced updated legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania as well as provide assistance for disadvantaged individuals and victims of marijuana criminalization.
According to a press release from Representative Wheatley, the revised bill would enact unprecedented criminal and social justice reforms in addition to legalizing cannabis for adult use in Pennsylvania.
Wheatley says that residents and other concerned individuals, particularly in the low-income working class, have continuously raised issues about access to Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program, which he says disproportionately affects people of color.
“With one bill, we can accomplish a great deal here in Pennsylvania: undo the damage that’s been caused for over 40 years by an overzealous criminal justice system intent on criminalizing people for minor drug offenses, and create a comprehensive marketplace to legally sell cannabis to adults,” says Representative Wheatley. “A portion of the funds will also provide revenue to invest in programs to help revitalize and strengthen our disadvantaged communities.”
The bill, HB 2050, would amend Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, which became law in 2016, to include adult-use cannabis.
Under HB 2050, a permitting structure would be established for growers, processors, and dispensaries, allowing legal adult-use cannabis production and sales.
The revised bill would also create a Commonwealth Reinvestment Fund, under which, a portion of recreational cannabis sales would be designated for youth after-school programs, student loan forgiveness, affordable housing, and other social programs.
HB 2050 also includes Representative Wheatley’s Cannabis Clean Slate initiative, which would facilitate the expungement of non-violent cannabis-related offenses and the release of non-violent offenders from prison.
Wheatley says that there is statewide support for legal cannabis as residents throughout Pennsylvania have made their voice heard to Governor Wolf and Lieutenant Governor Fetterman, noting that it is time to legalize adult-use cannabis and there is an opportunity to get it right the first time around.