Legalization of recreational marijuana in Pa. discussed by local leaders Thursday

PITTSBURGH — Pennsylvania leaders on Thursday called for the legalization of recreational marijuana as a way to create a new revenue stream for the state.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman argued for marijuana’s legalization, urging the general assembly to do so -- but only for adults.

They said the legislation would direct money toward COVID-19 recovery, providing funds for grants to help historically disadvantaged businesses and creating more outlets for restorative justice initiatives.

>>PREVIOUS STORY: Gov. Wolf supports legalizing marijuana in Pa., canceling or reducing alcohol tax

“But what it should be used for is for the greater good right now. It’s going into the pockets of the drug cartels, there’s a thriving cannabis market here in Pennsylvania already. The problem is it’s unregulated, it’s illegal and it’s underground, and none of those revenues are going into our treasuries. So, you tell me if we’re facing a $3.5 billion deficit and we have the opportunity to create a never-ending revenue stream in perpetuity,” Fetterman said.

It’s unclear whether the Republican-led legislature will go for the legalization of recreational marijuana, but the House majority leader recently responded to the governor’s entire fall legislative agenda by calling it “disingenuous … to require taxpayers to bail him out of his unilateral mandates that have devastated lives and livelihoods.”

Braddock’s mayor is on-board. Mayor Chardae Jones believes this could transform Pittsburgh’s economy.

“When it comes to balancing the budget, helping with some businesses in the community that need to sustain themselves, our communities will lose their identities if they don’t get the help they need,” she said.

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