Criminalization Of Weed Is A 'Waste' Of Resources, Pennsylvania AG Says As Elections Approach

With midterms approaching, cannabis is often in the spotlight of debates.

Pennsylvania gubernatorial nominee Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who has expressed support for cannabis policy change previously, reiterated his support for marijuana legalization.

"Continuing to criminalize adult personal marijuana use is a waste of limited law enforcement resources, taxpayer dollars, disproportionately impacts minority communities, and does not make our communities safer — which is why I support legalization under key conditions," Shapiro told Broad and Liberty earlier this week when asked if he would support legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

As part of Broad + Liberty's Candidate Spotlight Series, Shapiro's opponent Doug Mastriano (R), was asked the same question. However, Mastriano's campaign remained silent, even though the gubernatorial candidate earlier had called canabis legalization a "stupid idea."

Meanwhile, Shapiro laid out what marijuana legalization should encompass, highligting a criminal justice component.

"Those convicted for nonviolent possession of small amounts of marijuana must have their records expunged," he said.

Secondly, Shapiro emphasized that the cannabis industry "must be regulated and taxed responsibly." Lastly, he said that attracting businesses to Pennsylvania is essential in creating "good-paying jobs" and boosting the Commonwealth's economy.

"I'm not interested in subsidizing out-of-state companies to come in and make a quick buck off of Pennsylvanians' backs," Shapiro continued. "If we do that, marijuana legalization can lead to a fairer criminal justice system and a stronger economy for Pennsylvania."

Democrats Pushing For Marijuana Legalization

Interestingly, the number of Democratic politicians who are becoming more vocal regarding marijuana policy reform is on the rise as the midterms approach.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman recently urged President Joe Biden to deschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug and work to decriminalize it. Shortly after, the two politicians crossed paths in Pittsburgh and discussed potential changes to the status of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act prior to his speech at a union hall on Labor Day.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a news briefing last week that she didn't "have anything right now to announce," in response to Fetterman's request to Biden to deschedule cannabis prior to his Pittsburg visit.

Still, Jean-Pierre highlighted that Biden "believes that there are too many people serving unduly long sentences for nonviolent drug crimes, a disproportionate number of whom are black and brown."

Benzinga Edit. Courtesy of Peter Pike by Pixabay and Wikimeda Commons

Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsMarketsGeneralDoug MastrianoJoe BidenJohn FettermanJosh Shapiromarijuana legalization
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!