Gov. Tom Wolf asks lawmakers to legalize recreational marijuana in PA
HARRISBURG, PA (WOLF) — Governor Tom Wolf asked lawmakers to send him a bill to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana, it is one of several requests to help businesses and individuals hit hard by the pandemic.
It took a long time to get medical marijuana legalized in Pennsylvania which didn’t happen until 2016.
Today Wolf announced he wants to legalize recreational marijuana, noting how the commonwealth needs it now more than ever.
“That is to legalize the use of marijuana use the income from the sale, the taxes that come from recreational marijuana to supplement these loans," said Governor Wolf in an earlier press conference.
Specifically, he's asking funding go toward existing small business grants for those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with fifty percent of the funding designated for historically disadvantaged businesses.
He also wants funding towards restorative justice programs.
"We need to provide relief for small businesses. Especially small businesses and in additional to all that we need to reform our government," said Governor Wolf.
FOX56 spoke to local representatives about his fall legislative agenda.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has been a long time supporter of the issue – noting how it would help the commonwealth both financially and socially.
“We’re talking billions and billions of dollars, ten years twenty twenty five years of revenue how can you turn away billions of dollars for Pennsylvania? Because it’s already her. It’s a fact that black communities and citizens are over policed and charged when it comes to the use of cannabis although they have similar use rates to whites," said Lt. Fetterman.
Recreational use is still illegal in Pennsylvania with the exception of some municipalities decriminalizing marijuana.
Representative Fred Keller told us why he's not on board with legalizing recreational sale and use.
“I never supported the recreational use of marijuana. The governor has a very left liberal agenda he’s been trying to push since he got elected. I’m interested in making sure that the money from the federal government provided gets driven out to the families and small businesses and hard working people in Pennsylvania," said Rep. Keller - (R) 12th District.
Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff released a statement responding to Governor Wolf’s fall legislative agenda.
"It's disingenuous for this governor to put forward an unaffordable legislative agenda and require taxpayers to bail him out of his unilateral mandates that have devastated their lives and livelihoods," said Benninghoff.