Pennsylvania governor urges legalization of adult-use cannabis

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Tuesday called on lawmakers to legalize a commercial recreational marijuana program during the fall legislative session.

The request reflects the mounting pressure for states to legalize given budget shortfalls stemming from the coronavirus pandemic as well as the continued momentum for adult-use legalization in the Northeast.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have only 11 session days before the November election, according to TV station WPMT, so legalization might be somewhat of a long shot this year.

But Pennsylvania is expected to be one of the dominoes to fall soon, especially considering:

  • Fiscal pressures.
  • The success of the state’s medical marijuana program.
  • The likelihood that adjacent New Jersey will pass an adult-use referendum in November.

Pennsylvania, the fifth-most-populated state in the country, now has an MMJ market approaching half a billion dollars in sales a year.

In a news release, the Wolf administration proposed that 50% of the funding from adult-use marijuana sales be earmarked for historically disadvantaged small businesses.

Wolf, who came around on the adult-use legalization issue in 2019, was part of a Northeast governors summit last fall to discuss ways the region could coordinate its recreational legalization approach and agree on core principles.