State Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) and State Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) introduced bipartisan legislation to legalize the adult use of marijuana in Pennsylvania.
The bill establishes protocol for the legal sale, regulation, consumption, and taxation of cannabis while prioritizing safety, patients, community reinvestment, social and economic equity, and agriculture.
Senator Street described the end of cannabis prohibition as “An issue whose time has come,” calling it “an expensive failure of public policy which has criminalized patients, personal freedoms and impacted generations in a failed war on drugs that continues to burden taxpayers with growing costs to our criminal justice system. This bill makes both moral and fiscal sense and prioritizes the people of Pennsylvania.”
More than 60% of Pennsylvanians support adult-use marijuana legalization. The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office says legalization would generate between $400 million to $1 billion of new tax revenue for the Commonwealth annually.
“After almost a year of working with Senator Street, advocacy groups and constituents we have introduced SB 473, which we believe is the best option to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. Through bi-partisan support, Senator Street and I believe that we have found a way to get this important legislation to the finish line. With most of the surrounding states passing legalization bills, it’s time to act now before we lose revenue due to border bleed.
While the increase in revenue could raise around a billion dollars a year, the most important thing to me is that the industry will create thousands of family sustaining jobs that we so desperately need,” said Senator Laughlin.
The legislation includes:
- Protocol for the safe and legal use, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.
- Sets the minimum marijuana consumption age at 21 years old and mandates age verification for every purchase.
- Allows licensed medical marijuana patients to grow up to five plants in their home.
- Bans any marketing directed toward children and provides the appropriate deterrence to keep marijuana out of the hands of anyone under 21 years old.
- Provides clarity and consistency for workplace rules regarding marijuana use for all those operating in good faith and protects the Second Amendment rights of all Pennsylvanians.
- Develop a new industry based on free market principles coupled with regulation.
- Enable those behind bars on drug charges to get out of prison and expunge their criminal records.
- Provide opportunities for those most affected by the war on drugs to participate in the cannabis industry.
- Reform the criminal, employment, DUI, and gun laws to align with cannabis legalization.
- Modernize the Medical Marijuana Program to reduce costs to patients and increase patient access.