Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman have again called on the Pennsylvania legislature to legalize adult-use cannabis.
Wolf says that decriminalization and legalization are what the people of Pennsylvania want, and he is urging the General Assembly to listen to them.
Wolf and Fetterman on Wednesday spoke at a news conference along with Jeff Riedy, the executive director for the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).
Medicinal cannabis became legal in Pennsylvania in 2016 when Wolf signed SB 3, but the state has yet to successfully implement an adult-use marijuana policy.
Pennsylvania celebrated the signing of SB 3 into law by bathing the State Capitol in green lights.
Governor Wolf says that COVID-19 has caused enormous disruptions to the state’s economy and that legalizing adult-use cannabis will go a long way in helping it recover in the future.
“I urge the legislature to join me in building a foundation now to strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy by legalizing cannabis for adult use,” says Governor Wolf. “This is revenue that can help Pennsylvanians adversely impacted by the criminal justice system access restorative justice programs, it can be earmarked to help our historically disadvantaged small businesses weather the economic crisis caused by COVID-19, and it will give our economy a much-needed boost.”
Recognizing the time it will take to fully implement a legal cannabis system that is a significant source of state income, Wolf and Fetterman say that there are things that Pennsylvania can do in the meantime to help ensure that residents can benefit from the revenue as soon as possible.
To help save the state money and better residents’ lives, Fetterman suggests decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis, noting that nearly 22,000 people were arrested for simple possession in 2019.
Fetterman says that time and resources can be better spent on things other than the prosecution of Pennsylvanians for something that most do not believe should be illegal.
In 2019, Fetterman conducted a listening tour of Pennsylvania to hear the opinions of residents regarding the full legalization of cannabis.
“We welcome the inclusion of cannabis legalization into Governor Wolf’s agenda, which doubles-down on his commitment to support statewide legalization,” says Riedy. “NORML chapters across the commonwealth endorsed the Wolf/Fetterman ticket back in 2018.”
With two robust cannabis legalization bills already written, Riedy says that Pennsylvania lawmakers can act at any time.