Adult-use marijuana legalization push renewed in Pennsylvania

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Stymied for the past few years, cannabis-friendly Pennsylvania lawmakers reintroduced a bipartisan adult-use marijuana legalization proposal this week.

But despite strong support for legalization from Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, the bill’s prospects in the General Assembly are uncertain at best.

A sufficient number of Pennsylvania Republicans, who currently control the state Senate, have reliably opposed marijuana reform in the state in the past.

Senate Bill 846, introduced by lead sponsors Republican Dan Laughlin and Democrat Sharif Street, would:

  • Legalize up to 30 grams of marijuana flower or 1,000 milligrams of edibles for adults 21 and older.
  • Impose a 5% excise tax on adult-use sales.
  • Allow medical marijuana patients to cultivate cannabis at home.

The bill also would grant retail licenses to “social and economic equity applicants while providing room for new and existing licensees to ensure demand in Pennsylvania is met,” according to a news release from Pennsylvania’s Senate Republicans/

“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,” Laughlin said in the release.

In a separate move, according to Go Erie, a state Senate committee approved a bill that would make broad changes to state MMJ law, including eliminating the list of 24 qualifying conditions and allowing doctors to recommend cannabis for a wide variety of ailments.