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PA Senators introduce bipartisan bill that would legalize marijuana

PA Senators introduce bipartisan bill that would legalize marijuana

Senator Dan Laughlin (R-49) and Senator Sharif Street (D-3) introduced bipartisan legislation that would legalize adult use of marijuana in Pennsylvania.

 If passed, Senate Bill 846 would legalize recreational marijuana use for Pennsylvanians ages 21 and above. 

“Legalized adult use of marijuana is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians and this legislation accomplishes that while also ensuring safety and social equity,” said Laughlin. “With neighboring states New Jersey and New York implementing adult use, we have a duty to Pennsylvania taxpayers to legalize adult-use marijuana to avoid losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue and thousands of new jobs.”

Additionally, law enforcement would be given the means to adjudicate driving under the influence and the authority to pursue and eradicate any illicit market. Senate Bill 846 would ban any marketing directed toward children and would set workplace requirements regarding marijuana use for all those operating in good faith.

If passed, this bill would grant licenses to sell marijuana to social and economic equity applicants while providing room for new and existing licensees to ensure demand in Pennsylvania is met. It would also expunge non-violent marijuana convictions for medical marijuana patients and all non-violent marijuana convictions.

“We have a unique and singular opportunity to correct decades of mass incarceration, disproportionate enforcement against marginalized communities, the criminalization of personal choice and the perpetuation of violence, which all materialized from the failed war on drugs,” Street said. “Legalizing the adult use of cannabis will help us fully and equitably fund education, lower property taxes, and address a variety of community needs throughout Pennsylvania.”

Senate Bill 846 would allow medical marijuana patients to grow a limited number of cannabis plants at their home for personal use to help ease what supporters of the bill call "cost and accessibility burdens."

During state budget hearings held in 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee was told by the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office that legalized adult-use marijuana could generate $400 million to $1 billion in new tax revenue for the Commonwealth.

For more information on PMTA's stance on this and other legislation, click here. 

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