Multiple bills that would legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania are waiting on action in Pennsylvania’s legislature.
A bill introduced by state senators Daylin Leach and Sharif Street in October 2019, Senate Bill 350, has made no progress from the Rural and Agricultural Affairs committee since last year.
That bill, called a “gold standard,” said it would generate $500 million in the first full year of legalization for school districts, allow home growing, delivery, and “bring-your-own” weed lounge, while expunging convictions for people convicted of cannabis-related crimes.
A bill introduced by Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny County) in February 2020 shares many of the same features with Senate Bill 350. Wheatley’s bill also provides for a “Cannabis Clean Slate,” providing for release of inmates and decriminalizing the possession of cannabis.
Taxes on marijuana sales would start at 6 percent (on top of state sales tax) and grow to 19 percent after the fifth year. The Senate bill taxes marijuana at 17.5 percent.
“My bill would greatly improve access by implementing a strong, viable and comprehensive marketplace for adult-use cannabis, and also enact significant criminal and social justice reforms,” Wheatley wrote in an op-ed sent to press. “In addition, my legislation includes a provision that would prohibit employers from terminating an employment in the event a random drug screening detects the presence of non-intoxicating levels of cannabis. Furthermore, employers may not refuse to hire a prospective employee, based on the presence of cannabis found in his/her drug screening.”
A third bill, introduced by Rep. Dave Delloso (D-Delaware County) in October 2019, would legalize recreational marijuana and make the Liquor Control Board the exclusive retailer.
Delloso’s bill taxes marijuana sales at 35 percent.
All three bills have provisions encouraging small growers and limiting the number of dispensaries any one entity can own in the state, in response to concerns about out-of-state corporate money taking over the industry.
2019 Franklin & Marshall College poll results held that 59 percent of Pennsylvania voters are in favor of legalized marijuana.