Senators Introduce Legislation To End Cannabis Prohibition In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) and State Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) have introduced legislation to legalize cannabis for adults over the age of 21 in Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, October 15, Leach and Street introduced Senate Bill 350 (SB350) which establishes fair protocols for cannabis regulation and provides economic opportunities for people of all income levels.

The bill allows people who have been affected by marijuana criminalization to apply for grants and loans so they can start cannabis businesses.

SB350 also provides automatic expungement of previous cannabis-related criminal convictions, dismissal of pending charges, and commutation of sentences.

Senator Street says the end of cannabis prohibition is something that is long overdue.

“It is time for us to join the emerging cannabis economy with the legalization of the Adult Use of Cannabis in PA, which should not be a crime when responsibly used by adults nor mandate medical oversight,” says Street. “The economic imperatives are too great. We also have a moral mandate to correct the damage that disparate enforcement of our Marijuana Laws has done and is still doing to communities across the commonwealth.”

Senator Leach began drafting the bill in 2018 and has met with stakeholders, constituents, local government officials, and colleagues in the General Assembly during the past year to help draft a more comprehensive version.

Leach says that he and Street are confident that the input that they have received has helped them create legislation that is good for all Pennsylvanians.

The new version of the bill does not use state liquor stores as Pennsylvania’s method of cannabis dispensing and instead presents a model that is focused on providing equity for those harmed by prohibition and creating a cannabis industry that is inclusive of people of all income levels.

Taxes collected from cannabis revenue, which are estimated to hit $500 million in the first full fiscal year of operation, are to be allocated to school districts under the 2016 Fair Funding Formula (Act 35).

According to the bill, school districts may use the tax funding revenue as they choose for things such as hiring additional faculty or investing in their school.

Under SB350, home delivery would be allowed and deliverers would be permitted to start their own company, work for dispensaries, and use any form of transportation whether it be public or private.

The bill also permits adult individuals to grow up to ten plants for personal use at their homes.

Next, the bill is to be assigned to a Senate committee by the president pro tempore of the Senate.