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Pennsylvania Begins Reevaluating Recreational Marijuana

Pennsylvania has begun to reevaluate legalizing recreational marijuana. This news follows New Jersey officially legalizing recreational marijuana only two days ago. State Senator Dan Laughlin stated, "We made sure there is a home-grow component for medical cardholders. There is a strong emphasis on creating micro-cultivation centers so mom and pop types can be involved. There's a strong component for social equity so many of the hardest-hit communities by the war on drugs can get a leg up on entering a profitable business”.

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Laughlin, of Millcreek, R-49th Dist., plans to roll out the Adult Use Cannabis and Economic Recovery bill on Wednesday with state Sen. Sharif Street, of Philadelphia, D-3rd Dist.

"I view this as the most responsible approach," he said. "We've already legalized medical marijuana and regulating adult use takes a huge bite out of the black market. It also allows people that already use this product to do it in a more responsible manner and buy it from a safe source with accurate labeling."

Laughlin's support of legalizing marijuana for non-medical use marks a potential shift within the state GOP on an issue that it has largely avoided.

Though Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman have proposed legalizing marijuana for recreational use, and Democratic lawmakers, including Street, have been pitched three different bills in recent years, the efforts have gained little if no traction in the GOP-controlled General Assembly.

Laughlin expects that a few Republicans will sign on as co-sponsors once the bill is introduced.

"This bill would expunge any non-violent marijuana convictions," he added. "We put language in to protect Second Amendment rights, and also the strongest efforts in the country to keep it out of the hands of people under the age of 21."

The bill would amend the Medical Marijuana Act of 2016.

Under the bill, people 21 years and older who have been Pennsylvania residents for at least a month would be legally permitted to possess 30 grams — just more than one ounce — of cannabis flower; cannabis-infused products with no more than 500 milligrams of THC; and 5 grams of cannabis.

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