Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf referred to as on state lawmakers to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults in an inventory of objectives 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 way of bipartisan laws,” Wolf’s workplace wrote in an announcement of his 2021 agenda. “Now as our neighbors transfer towards legalizing leisure marijuana, Pennsylvania can not afford to be left behind. Legalizing adult-use hashish has sturdy bipartisan assist amongst Pennsylvanians.”

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

“The income generated from legalization shall be used to assist traditionally deprived small companies by way of 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 applications 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 lift the state’s minimal wage, enhance taxes on pure fuel, and put money into college buildings and different infrastructure. The adjustments are a part of a plan to assist Pennsylvania recuperate from the persevering with financial impression of the coronavirus outbreak.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has basically modified Pennsylvania and exacerbated current obstacles for too many Pennsylvanians. It continues to have adverse penalties for companies, staff, and households all through the commonwealth,” the Democratic governor mentioned in a press release accompanying his finances priorities. “To get Pennsylvania again on observe from the disruptions the pandemic is inflicting, we have to make main, focused investments to strengthen our economic system, assist staff 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 this stuff for years, and definitely 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 received 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 legislation. 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 really minority viewpoint in Pennsylvania,” Fetterman said. “A major majority of Pennsylvania are for legalization and I might simply ask anybody who’s not – it’s like, properly, you certain don’t need to pay extra in taxes.”

Fetterman added that he believes legalizing hashish in Pennsylvania might convey as much as half a billion {dollars} into the state’s coffers annually, serving to the state deal with its finances 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 ft?”