Pennsylvania is seeing growing support from Republicans on recreational cannabis legislation.
A key Republican senator voiced his support recently towards legalizing recreational marijuana.
Senate Law and Justice Committee Chairman Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, wrote in an op-ed this week he’s circulating a cosponsorship memo to permit adult-use statewide and direct a portion of the projected $1 billion in tax revenue to support the state police.
“Our law enforcement agencies and justice system do not have the manpower or time to handle these minor marijuana offenses that clog our courts and produce little return,” he wrote.
“Instead, police and prosecutors need to focus on protecting our residents from the violent criminals and large-scale drug importers that are also dealing in heroin and fentanyl, which kill thousands of Pennsylvanians each year.”
The proposal by the senator would address DUI enforcement for cannabis users, protect firearm ownership “regardless of one’s choice” to use the drug, establish a new regulatory control board, develop educational programs that deter underage use and provide “social equity, inclusion and assistance for business entry into the industry.”
Regan said he’s seen firsthand the “seriousness of illicit drug use,” but believes legalizing recreational cannabis will ease the strain on law enforcement, and bring added benefits to the state’s successful medical program that serves 365,000 active patients.
This week Governor Tom Wolf had also tweeted that he’s “all for legalizing adult use marijuana in Pennsylvania.”
“For me to sign, the bill must include efforts to restore justice to Pennsylvanians who have been over-punished for marijuana offenses,” he said.
Regan’s bill is the second Republican-backed plan introduced in the upper chamber this year.