Last week, a new bill to legalize recreational marijuana was introduced in the Pennsylvania state legislature.
House Bill 2050 proposes making legal marijuana part of Pennsylvania’s economy, taxing growers and directing funds to a variety of programs.
The bill sponsored by state Representative Jake Wheatley (D- Allegheny County) is the second piece of legislation he’s submitted on the legalization of marijuana.
Weatley told ErieNewsNow, the new bill is a better version than HB 50 from 2019 because he t additional input from residents of the Commonwealth when drawing up the new measure.
‘House Bill 50 was a good initial first step, but it doesn’t allow for smaller entrepreneurs to really play, so we kind of changed some of those structures,’ Wheatley told the publication.
The bill will likely be referred to House Health Committee which is chaired by Representative Kathy Rapp (R-Warren) who is strongly opposed to legalization efforts and has made that known in public comments citing the drug is still illegal at the federal level and would add to the burden of law enforcement while
Wheatley sent out a memo to fellow House lawmakers seeking co-sponsorship.
A similar bill (SB 350) was introduced last fall, by state Senators Andy Dinniman (D-17) and Sharif Street (D-3). The bill has yet to make progress out of the Rural and Agricultural Affairs Committee since being introduced.
Wheatley (D-19), said legalizing marijuana has broad support from Pennsylvanians. A 2019 Franklin and Marshall poll showed that 59 percent of residents supported this sort of bill.
The measure says a portion of money from legal cannabis sales would go toward children’s after-school programs, student loan forgiveness and affordable housing.
The measure would allow people to have their records expunged of convictions for nonviolent drug offenses also.