Pennsylvania lawmakers to again consider adult-use cannabis measure

Women, minority execs show few gains in U.S. cannabis industry, according to the latest data from the MJBiz Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Report. Get your copy here.


Pennsylvania Democrats, as expected, are trying again to legalize adult-use cannabis through legislation.

State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel on Tuesday introduced House Bill 2050, which would create a recreational marijuana market with limited licensing, a social equity emphasis and a retail sales tax rate that would begin at 6% and gradually go up to 19% by the fifth year.

Pressure has increased on Pennsylvania to legalize recreational marijuana sales now that neighboring New Jersey is preparing to launch a market next year.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has been urging lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana since last year.

But the GOP-controlled Senate still is considered a major obstacle, as it has been during previous efforts.

House Bill 2050, according to a Marijuana Policy Project summary, features:

  • A grant program to help minorities, women and small businesses benefit from the industry. Initial application and permit fees also would be lower to reduce financial barriers.
  • Limited licensing of no more than 50 growers, 50 processors and 100 retail permits with up to three locations each.
  • Up to 35 combination permits would be issued, and a combination licensee could seek up to three grower permits, up to five processor permits and 10 retail permits.
  • A retail sales tax rate of 6% for the first two years, 12% for the third and fourth year of the program and 19% thereafter. An additional retail sales tax rate of up to 3% could be charged by municipalities.
  • A 10% wholesale tax. But growers and processors that partner with Pennsylvania farms wouldn’t be required to pay that tax.

Marijuana M&A activity has been sizzling in Pennsylvania because of a robust medical cannabis market and the potential of adult use in the near future.

The 2021 MJBizFactbook projects that MMJ sales will reach $775 million-$925 million this year. But sales could be affected after New Jersey’s recreational marijuana market launches.