Pennsylvania Rep. Jake Wheatley has launched a petition online to solicit support for a bill legalizing the recreational use of cannabis in the state.
Wheatley said that he will soon be introducing H.B. 2600 to legalize the sale of adult-use cannabis in Pennsylvania. And he is asking voters’ support.
The use of cannabis for medical purposes is already allowed in the state.
In his petition, Wheatley cited some data pertaining to recreational cannabis that highlight the benefits of legalizing it. These include:
- Pennsylvania would generate millions in tax revenue. State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s recent report estimated that legalizing adult-use cannabis could generate annual tax revenues of more than $580 million for Pennsylvania.
- Legalizing recreational cannabis would save Pennsylvania taxpayers millions when it comes to the enforcement and prosecution of cannabis-related offenses, as well as other criminal justice costs. This would free up law enforcement resources so they could focus on fighting serious crime.
- Legalizing recreational cannabis would provide the state’s farmers a lucrative cash crop.
- Statistics show that prohibition of cannabis has failed to reduce any kind of access to the drug.
- The continued prohibition of marijuana will fuel organized crime, whose No. 1 money-maker is marijuana.
- The continued prohibition of cannabis perpetuates a deeply seated, unjust racial impact: Although white adults and African-American adults consume weed at the same rate, research shows that African-Americans are more likely to be arrested and detailed by police authorities. A 2017 analysis of arrest data in Pennsylvania has even found that African-Americans were 8.2 times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than white adults.
- There are proven advantages and benefits to adult-use cannabis legalization. There are nine states in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, that have already legalized recreational marijuana, and these states are generating millions of dollars in tax revenue while also enjoying the benefits of reduced spending and criminal justice costs.
- There are more than 52,000 patients who have already registered for the state’s successful medical cannabis program.
- According to recent polls, a solid majority of the state’s residents already support recreational cannabis legalization.
Wheatley also made it clear that his bill would expunge criminal records for convictions that are related to cannabis and that would have been deemed legal under the act.
He believes that it is hight time for Pennsylvania to end the 21st-century version of prohibition, to balance their budget, and to stop squandering billions of dollars in revenue.