PA Senate Wants Recreation, too

Gregory Vellner

Just weeks after introduction of a Pennsylvania House bill legalizing recreational marijuana use by those over 21, a similar measure has been proposed in the state Senate – a bipartisan effort to make the state the nation’s 17th with legalized pot use.

State Sens. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) introduced the legislation last week, a bill similar to one proposed earlier this month by state Reps. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) and Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny).

Senate Bill 473 establishes protocols for the legal sale, regulation, consumption and taxation of cannabis, while prioritizing safety, community reinvestment, social and economic equity, and agriculture.

The senators said that the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office found legalization of recreational marijuana would generate between $400 million to $1 billion of new tax revenue annually. The senators also said the new industry has the potential to create thousands of family-sustaining jobs.

Laughlin and Street drafted the bill with extensive feedback from advocates and stakeholders across the commonwealth, and said they are committed to working with them to improve the bill as it progress through the legislative process.

The earlier House bill makes it legal for hose 21 and older to purchase and consumer as much as 28.38 grams of cannabis and 5 grams of a cannabis product in solid, liquid or concentrated form. The bill, the representatives said, would create numerous jobs, increase revenue, and improve social justice programs.

The marijuana market – it’s reached $3.4 billion in total sales since 2018, according to the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board – could more than double if recreational cannabis sales are permitted.

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA
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