Pa. Lawmaker To Introduce Recreational Marijuana Bill Monday

The bill would make Pennsylvania the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana

Shelby Cassesse
September 24, 2018 - 9:52 am

PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - State Representative Jake Wheatley will introduce House Bill 2600 Monday, which would legalize the growth, purchase and use of recreational marijuana for those 21 and over in Pennsylvania.

Representative Wheatley told the KDKA Radio Morning News an online petition for the bill collected over 8,000 signatures, showing that the bill has support. 

"We saw the momentum with medical marijuana. I think with more and more Pennsylvanians looking at this issue and saying 'hey, we want this to be legal in our commonwealth,' I think you'll find more members of the General Assembly more open to considering it."

Not only would the bill allow Pennsylvania to join nine other states and Washington D.C. in legalizing recreational marijuana, but it would also release those in prison on marijuana-related charges. 


Wheatley said he believes this would provide relief to the criminal justice system. 

"Immediately upon passing or signing of this bill into law, those individuals would be eligible for release," Wheatley said. "If that was the only instance that has them in the correctional facility, they'll be eligible for release immediately; their record will be expunged automatically. For those who have lost driver licenses or who have lost their professional licenses because of these charges or incidents, they would automatically be reinstated. 

Some that oppose the recreational marijuana are concerned that legalizing it would create more DUIs, but Wheatley says he believes it would actually do the opposite. 

"I think what we will have is more responsible utilization of cannabis in our commonwealth and potentially have less of an issue because it won't be something that will be hidden. It will be giving people opportunities to get it legally, to stay and utilize it without fear of being punished for it, and I think adults can be responsible. I think there are always going to be people who will do things that will be irresponsible. We see that every day with alcohol utilization, but I don't think just because you make cannabis more available or legal that you somehow get more people on the roads driving in response."

A report by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale says recreational marijuana would bring over $580 million in tax revenue to the state.  

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