Support for legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania has been increasing over the last decade, but lawmakers remain skeptical, writes Bobby Allyn for WHYY.
In 2006, around 20 percent of the state’s residents backed the idea of legalizing recreational marijuana. Today, it is approximately 60 percent.
Things move more slowly in the legislature, though. Gov. Tom Wolf and the Republican-controlled legislature came to an agreement on legalizing medical marijuana two years ago. But Wolf did not begin signaling his support for recreational marijuana until after he won re-election.
State Rep. Jake Wheatley, a Democrat, recently introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana and tax it around 35 percent. The revenue would be used for workforce development, community mentoring programs, and student debt forgiveness and could help the state’s $1.7 billion budget deficit.
“We believe we will easily be between $580 million to $600 million new dollars recurring every year,” said Wheatley.
The bill received 27 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats. Opposition is strong among Republicans.
Other Democrats say that Pennsylvania should stay on the sidelines while marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Read more about the prospects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania at WHYY here.