In a letter addressed to all Senate members, State Senator Mike Regan (R) announced he will be introducing a bill to legalize marijuana, cut the sources of funding of organized crime and protect people's health.
Senator Regan said that “law enforcement does not have the time or manpower to handle minor marijuana offenses and should instead be investigating violent criminals and large-scale drug importers of heroin and fentanyl,” said Senator Regan in his letter.
“The street-level marijuana sold by these organizations is often laced with illicit drugs and toxic additives (...) Pennsylvanians deserve not only safe neighborhoods but for those that choose to use marijuana, access to a safe and trusted product.”
A former United States Marshal, Regan, claims to “know the seriousness of drug use.” And is concerned about the fact that two neighboring states, New Jersey and New York, that recently legalized cannabis, can soon “experience border bleed."
If that is the case, Regan argues that Pennsylvanians would be "contributing to the tax base of those states and helping to pay for their roads and bridges, while the Commonwealth deals with the implications of purchases brought across state lines without the resources to address them.”
According to Regan's letter, “Independent estimates have forecasted that Pennsylvania could receive $1 billion annually in the form of tax revenue through the legalization of adult-use marijuana.”
Pennsylvania's medical cannabis market has been one of the better success stories in the industry to date. By June 2021, the state had topped $900 million over a one-year period during the pandemic. Data from the state Department of Health reported that total sales fell just short of $3 billion as of June.
Recreational cannabis in Pennsylvania could bring 32,000 full-time jobs, $3.3 billion in annual sales and $520 million in yearly tax revenue to the Keystone State, according to the cannabis platform Leafly.
Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman called cannabis a powerful tool to create family-sustaining, full-time jobs and ending the prosecution of more than 20,000 Pennsylvanians every year.
"This is a strong bipartisan issue, and it’s past time to end prohibition, right the wrongs of the war on drugs, and for Pennsylvania to reap the revenue, jobs, freedom and benefits for our farmers that more than a dozen other states already enjoy,” Fetterman said.
Leafly estimates Pennsylvania would save $75 million per year in law enforcement expenses if social equity were the key component of cannabis legalization in the state.
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