In his annual budget address, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro made a compelling case to decriminalize marijuana, underlining the economic advantages and the necessity to combat the thriving black market. Shapiro stressed that Pennsylvania is losing out on an estimated annual revenue of over $250 million by not having a fully established, legal marijuana industry. It’s noteworthy that five out of six neighboring states have already implemented some form of marijuana legalization.
The Road Towards Regulation of Marijuana Industry
The governor urged for a responsible regulation and taxation of the marijuana industry, along with the expungement of records for individuals convicted of nonviolent possession of small quantities of marijuana. Previous attempts to legalize adult-use marijuana have been made in the state legislature, with the latest bill being introduced in December 2023 by Senators Sharif Street and Camera Bartolotta. Pennsylvania had legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and updated its definition in the previous year to ease sales for growers.
Shapiro: A Consistent Advocate for Marijuana Reform
Shapiro has consistently backed marijuana reform, endorsing the decriminalization of recreational use and drawing attention to the repercussions of incarceration for marijuana offenses. His budget proposal for the 2024-25 fiscal year encompasses significant boosts to education and economic development, alongside the regulation of adult-use marijuana. The budget also entails a $1.1 billion increase to public education, with a portion of it allocated towards underfunded schools.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn