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Pennsylvania Governor calls for legalization of marijuana

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro called on lawmakers to legalize marijuana during his annual budget address.

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Five of the six states bordering Pennsylvania have some form of legalized marijuana, whether for adult and or medical use.

“We’re losing out on an industry that, once fully implemented, would bring in more than $250 million in annual revenue,” said Shapiro. “And our failure to legalize and regulate this only fuels the black market and drains much needed resources for law enforcement. It’s time to catch up.”

Shapiro said the legislature should send him a marijuana legalization bill that “should ensure the industry is regulated and taxed responsibly.”

Shapiro also called for expunging the records of those convicted for nonviolent possession of small amounts of marijuana.

“Let’s stop hamstringing ourselves and start competing,” said Shapiro.

This Week in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania lawmakers have pushed for adult use marijuana legalization in the past with a bill most recently being introduced in December 2023 from Senator Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) and Senator Camera Bartolotta (R- Beaver, Green, Washington).

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016 under Governor Tom Wolf for patients “with a serious medical condition through a safe and effective method of delivery that balances patient need for access to the latest treatments with patient care and safety.”

Governor Shapiro has previously offered his support for the decriminalization of adult-use recreational marijuana, saying “our state legislature should pass comprehensive marijuana reform, including legislation” in a May 2021 tweet and noting that “too many Pennsylvanians are locked up for marijuana offenses” in August 2022.

Lasr year Shapiro signed a law updating the definition of medical marijuana making it easier for growers to sell their product.


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