Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf referred to as on state lawmakers to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults in a listing of targets for the brand new yr launched on Thursday. Within the assertion of his priorities for the 2021 legislative session, Wolf mentioned that it’s time to proceed the state’s reform of hashish coverage.

“In 2017, Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana by bipartisan laws,” Wolf’s workplace wrote in an announcement of his 2021 agenda. “Now as our neighbors transfer towards legalizing leisure marijuana, Pennsylvania can’t afford to be left behind. Legalizing adult-use hashish has robust bipartisan assist amongst Pennsylvanians.”

Wolf’s name for the legalization of leisure marijuana famous that tax revenues raised by regulated hashish commerce could possibly be used to assist advance social and financial change.

“The income generated from legalization might be used to assist traditionally deprived small companies by grant funding and supply them the help they should construct again from the financial disaster and strengthen our economic system,” the announcement continued. “Moreover, a portion of the income will assist restorative justice packages to assist the people and communities which were adversely harmed by the criminalization of marijuana.”

Recovering From COVID-19’s Financial Fallout

Wolf’s agenda additionally included a number of extra priorities for Pennsylvania for 2021, together with requires lawmakers to boost the state’s minimal wage, improve taxes on pure gasoline, and spend money on college buildings and different infrastructure. The modifications are a part of a plan to assist Pennsylvania recuperate from the persevering with financial influence of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially modified Pennsylvania and exacerbated current boundaries for too many Pennsylvanians. It continues to have damaging penalties for companies, employees, and households all through the commonwealth,” the Democratic governor mentioned in an announcement accompanying his price range priorities. “To get Pennsylvania again on monitor from the disruptions the pandemic is inflicting, we have to make main, focused investments to strengthen our economic system, assist employees and small enterprise homeowners, rebuild our infrastructure, and assist all Pennsylvanians construct a path to monetary safety.”

Agenda Renews Calls For Hashish Reform

Wolf has been in favor of the legalization of hashish for adults since 2019. He reiterated his desire for reform final yr, noting that legalization payments haven’t been supported by Pennsylvania’s GOP-controlled legislature.

“Home and Senate Democrats have been preventing for these items for years, and positively for the reason that starting of the pandemic,” Wolf said in August. “They’ve been stopped at each flip by the Republicans who’ve been targeted on ignoring the general public well being disaster and really trashing me. That has to cease. We’ve obtained to get again to doing issues that really matter to folks.”

Fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman has additionally been a vocal and visual advocate for marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania, going as far as flying a pot leaf flag from his Capitol workplace balcony in violation of state regulation. In an interview with a neighborhood tv station final yr, he famous that public opinion about hashish has shifted through the years.

“Marijuana prohibition is a very minority viewpoint in Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said. “A big majority of Pennsylvania are for legalization and I might simply ask anybody who’s not – it’s like, effectively, you certain don’t need to pay extra in taxes.”

Fetterman added that he believes legalizing hashish in Pennsylvania might deliver as much as half a billion {dollars} into the state’s coffers every year, serving to the state tackle its price range deficit.

“There’s already a thriving marijuana market in Pennsylvania,” he insisted. “Why not make it authorized, why not make it secure and why not make it taxable to assist Pennsylvania get again on its toes?”