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Pennsylvania Governor Shapiro Calls For Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro called for the legalization of recreational marijuana in his budget address last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Shapiro, a Democrat, unveiled his $48.3 billion budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year in front of a joint session of the House and Senate.  He called on the state legislature to pass a measure legalizing adult-use marijuana and send to his desk.

Shapiro said the proposal would be a new source of revenue for the state, following the example of neighboring states Ohio, New Jersey and New York.  He said the legalization would eventually yield $250 million in additional annual revenue. Shapiro also called for expunging records of those incarcerated for marijuana, and using $5 million for restorative justice.  “Our failure to regulate and legalize this only fuels the black market and drains needed resources from law enforcement. Time to catch up,” he said.

He added that the plan would result in the marijuana industry being taxed and regulated in a responsible manner.  “Especially in the communities that have been disproportionately harmed by criminalization,” Shapiro said. “And that those who have been convicted for nonviolent possession of small amounts of marijuana have their records expunged.”

Under the budget, legal marijuana would be regulated by the state Department of Agriculture, and would have a tax of 20% beginning July 1.

Legalization has drawn opposition in the past from Republicans, who are in the majority in the state Senate.  But some Republican leaders said they may re-evaluate the proposal as a way to bring in much-needed revenue.

The Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition released a statement that read in part, “Governor Shapiro’s leadership on this issue will deliver more than just revenue to the commonwealth. The establishment of a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market built on the experience and infrastructure of the current medical marijuana program will add thousands of jobs, reap millions of dollars in investments for Pennsylvania, and stop the revenue bleed to neighboring adult-use states.”

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016.

This story is just one of many you’ll find in the Cannabis News section of Cannabutter Digest, your go-to resource for all things cannabis-related. Check out our site to find tasty recipesuseful product reviews, and so much more

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