Last Wednesday, a Pennsylvania lawmaker brought forth an interesting bill that would legalize recreational cannabis. House Bill 1899 would make state-run liquor stores the only licensed retailers of cannabis, eliminating the opportunity for corporate giants to overtake the market.
Doing this would be huge for local businesses, Representative David Delloso says. He elaborates on this point by saying that he fears big, corporate entities will come into PA and set up shop, and then funneling that money back out of the state.
Instead, using the existing state-run liquor stores would not only provide family-sustaining jobs to the people of Pennsylvania, but it would keep the profits in the state.
What are the other stipulations of House Bill 1899?
Under House Bill 1899, cannabis would be recreationally legal for adults over the age of 21 to possess and consume. All sales would be restricted to the state-run liquor stores. There is a stipulations allowing adults to give away small amounts of the product.
As you may have guessed, The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) will be regulating the recreational industry. A spokesperson for the PLCB said they were up to the task when asked about the bill.
On top of all this, the bill would also expunge the records of any possession charges, and those currently incarcerated on such charges would be released. Taking things a step further, it would be unlawful for businesses to discriminate based on cannabis use. Employers would also be prohibited from firing or disciplining those who failed a drug screening.
Economic implications of House Bill 1899
Recreational cannabis would be huge for Pennsylvania from an economic standpoint. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has estimated that this bill would create over 18,000 jobs, and bring in $581 million through taxation of sales.
According to Rep. Jordan Harris, this initiative is long overdue. He said, “It is time for us to not just have a conversation but sit down and really look at details on how we can do this in Pennsylvania understanding that the support is there, the revenue will be there for us and we could do a lot of good things with those resources.”
What do those that oppose the bill have to say?
This bill has not gained favor with the Republican lawmakers, citing concerns with federal law. They also feel that this initiative would create conflict with the state’s medical-marijuana program. The party has stated they have no plans or interest in regards to legalizing recreational marijuana at this time.
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