Penn. Gov. Tom Wolf Pushes for Legalization in Fall Legislative Agenda

Tom Wolf

 

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf took to Twitter on Tuesday, August 25th to share his fall legislative agenda for providing relief to families, recovery for businesses, and government reform. 

“We have $1B in CARES Act funding to help fund these initiatives,” reads the Tweet.

Cannabis Legalization

In the outline of his agenda, Gov. Wolf also requests that the legislature legalize recreational cannabis. 

According to NPR, Gov. Wolf would like the legislature to dedicate 50% of cannabis funds to historically disadvantaged businesses. 

While medical cannabis has been legal in Pennsylvania since 2006, the push for recreational legalization comes amid a desperate need to provide revenue for small business grant funding, and restorative justice programs. 

Gov. Wolf also echoed a point recently made by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, which suggests that tax revenue from cannabis could help supplement federal government-based relief loans. 

Profits from legalization could also provide further assistance to bars and restaurants with direct funding, short-term alcohol costs reduction, and suspended excess alcohol taxes. 

“I think there was some appetite for it before and my hope is that with the pandemic and the hit that we’ve taken to revenues that there might be a little more interest in it right now,” the governor said during a press conference on Tuesday, August 25th. . 

“I think we’ve had a little more time to see what’s happened in places like Colorado with revenues, for example, that this might be one way to plug a hole,” he added. 

The legalization plan would be the first in the country to pursue a state-run cannabis model, reports Marijuana Moment

It would allow adults 21 and older to possess, consume, cultivate and purchase cannabis through a state store system run by the Liquor Control Board.

Coronavirus

Gov. Wolf’s agenda also includes plans to address the novel coronavirus pandemic and increase the state’s economy, including a $3.00/hour increase in hazard pay for frontline workers. 

However, the Democratic governor has been met by Republican House Leaders, including Kerry Benninghoff, with less than supportive attitudes. 

According to The Express, Benninghoff and other top Republicans in the state House recently argued in a letter to Gov. Wolf that there was no data behind his recommendation to postpone youth and school sports during the pandemic. 

“We recognize, understand and support the significant objective of your office to minimize the risk of a major COVID-19 outbreak this fall and further understand that reducing activities where people congregate supports that goal,” the letter read. 

“We also believe, however, that sports are going to be played by youth, whether within the PIAA structure or otherwise and that doing so within the educational umbrella may provide the safest means for that to occur,” the letter added.

Overall, as legalization continues to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, stay tuned for updates on legalization measures in Pennsylvania and beyond. 

 

Written by Rita Thompson

 

New York Gov. Cuomo Promises to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis, Invest in Green Economy in 2020

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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