If there was any doubt that Tom Wolf was decided to make marijuana legalization a actuality this yr, the Pennsylvania governor put that to relaxation on Wednesday.
In a pair of tweets, Wolf reiterated his name to finish prohibition on grownup leisure pot use within the Keystone State, saying the income generated may very well be essential in restoring the financial system that has been battered by the pandemic.
“I wish to see Pennsylvania start the method to legalize adult-use marijuana this yr,” Wolf said Wednesday morning. “The income from this measure could be used to assist us recuperate from COVID. Plus, it’s previous time that we restore justice to these harmed by marijuana criminalization.”
He followed up that tweet with one other wherein he inspired constituents to inform legislators “you wish to sustain with different states and legalize adult-use marijuana.”
The Hashish Standing in Neighboring States
The reference to different states was well timed, in that two of Pennsylvania’s neighbors—New Jersey and New York—are additionally taking steps towards legalization. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans in January to introduce a “a proposal to legalize hashish and create an equitable adult-use hashish program in [New York state]” that he mentioned would “generate much-needed income, whereas permitting us to assist these which have been most harmed by a long time of failed hashish prohibition.”
Over in New Jersey, in the meantime, lawmakers have been ironing out particulars of a invoice to implement a regulated marijuana program after voters within the state handed a measure final yr legalizing leisure pot.
Like Cuomo, Wolf announced his intention to pursue legalization in a January tackle that outlined his legislative priorities. As he did on Wednesday, Wolf drew consideration to the actions of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states.
“Now as our neighbors transfer towards legalizing leisure marijuana, Pennsylvania can’t afford to be left behind,” Wolf said in an announcement on the time. “Legalizing adult-use hashish has robust bipartisan assist amongst Pennsylvanians. The income generated from legalization will likely be used to assist traditionally deprived small companies via grant funding and supply them the help they should construct again from the financial disaster and strengthen our financial system. Moreover, a portion of the income will assist restorative justice packages to assist the people and communities which have been adversely harmed by the criminalization of marijuana.”
It’s a change in tune for Wolf, who in 2017 said that Pennsylvania wasn’t able to legalize leisure pot use.
The financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic could immediate lawmakers to contemplate legalization as a means of mitigating income shortfalls introduced on by lockdown measures. Wolf made heavy reference to that in his speech in January.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has basically modified Pennsylvania and exacerbated present boundaries for too many Pennsylvanians. It continues to have damaging penalties for companies, staff, and households all through the commonwealth,” Wolf said. “To get Pennsylvania again on monitor from the disruptions the pandemic is inflicting, we have to make main, focused investments to strengthen our financial system, assist staff and small enterprise house owners, rebuild our infrastructure, and assist all Pennsylvanians construct a path to monetary safety.”