Pittsburgh Lawmakers Introduce State-Wide Adult Cannabis Bill | News | Pittsburgh

Two lawmakers in western Pennsylvania introduced a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in the Commonwealth.

State Representatives Jake Wheatley (D-Hill District) and Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill), both Democrats from Pittsburgh, presented HB 2050, a bill that would legalize the purchase and use of recreational cannabis for anyone 21 years of age or older.

“I am once again championing efforts to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Pennsylvania. We have heard from residents across the state, and the overwhelming majority agree that it is time to embrace this initiative, ”Wheatley said in a statement released by his office on Sept. 28.

The bill would establish an application and licensing process for producers, processors and dispensaries and set a graduated sales tax rate that would drop from 6 percent in the first two years of legalization to 12 percent for years three and four and at 19 percent each year thereafter.

Wheatley, who introduced similar legislation in the last session, said that in addition to growing the cannabis industry in Pennsylvania, HB 2050 would lay the groundwork for tackling “historic damage.”

“Not only would this create much needed jobs and income, but it contains important social justice provisions that would eliminate the aggressive enforcement of marijuana possession laws in marginalized communities,” said Wheatley.

The bill includes a “Cannabis Clean Slate” proposal that would clear the records of non-violent drug offenders and free non-violent drug offenders from incarceration.

In a memorandum Announcing the bill to his colleagues, Wheatley wrote:

“Now more than ever, Pennsylvania needs to create jobs and an industry; What better way to do this than to create a whole new industry? Our Commonwealth also needs income; the excise tax has no impact[s] those who will use adult cannabis and is not widespread. The emphasis on social and criminal justice gives this legislation a backbone and purpose. It’s not just about creating a market to generate profits, it’s about how the failed policies of the past have harmed and continue to harm people from certain populations and make amends.

If passed, Pennsylvania could join a growing number of states that have implemented recreational cannabis programs, including neighboring states of New York and New Jersey.

From a august report by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 18 states, the District of Columbia and two territories allow the recreational use of cannabis by adults.

A total of 36 states, the District of Columbia and three territories have adopted medical cannabis programs.

Cassie Miller is Associate Editor at Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.

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