Here we go again, on Tuesday Representative Jake Wheatley introduced House Bill 2050. Wheatley has proposed cannabis legalization in the past, including last year’s HB 50. Meanwhile back at the ranch, the state lieutenant governor has gone on a cannabis listening an learning tour has also pledged his support for legalization of recreational cannabis.
However such plans have met push back from Pennsylvania’s Republican leadership, including House Health Committee chairperson Rep. Kathy Rapp. She has stated that she will not advance any cannabis legalization bills out of her committee.
Last year, a legislative proposal to legalize recreational marijuana was introduced in the Senate, a month after Governor Tom Wolf urged legislators to propose cannabis legalization. SB 350, sponsored by Senators Sharif Street and Daylin Leach, was considered one of the most progressive legalization plans to be bandied about in the United States’ political sphere. The bill would have protected consumers’ right to home cultivation, and prioritized justice for individuals with past cannabis-related offenses. It has not gained much ground, having sat in the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee since the end of October.
“We open up the opportunity for smaller entrepreneurs to get into that market,” said Wheatley in a press release. “We believe the full answer is to have a regulated legal market for adult use and we believe the time has certainly come, and passed, really, for us to engage in a conversation here in the Capitol for this critical topic.”
Such plans have met resistance from Pennsylvania’s Republican leadership, including House Health Committee chairperson Rep. Kathy Rapp. She has stated that she will not advance any cannabis legalization bills out of her committee. (okay boomer). The people (real Government) will show you.
But exactly what will Wheatley’s plan for legalization look like? It prioritizes the participation in the cannabis industry of small businesses, having dropped application and permit fees down from its 2019 draft.
Taxes would start at six percent, but ramp up to 19 percent on cannabis product sales within four years. Business to business taxes would start at 10 percent.
Revenue collected from taxes would go towards after school programs, grants for woman- and POC-owned small businesses, student loan reimbursement, and other governmental services.
Let The Roasting Begin
When introducing the bill, Wheatley implied that his peers who are holding back cannabis legalization are working against the will of Pennsylvanians. (the true government)
“The People have said they’re ready for us to engage in this, so anyone in this state that’s refusing to listen to the citizens of this commonwealth, primarily based on their own view of the world, I think is doing a disservice to themselves and to the office,” he commented.
Wheatley’s draft also includes an emphasis on criminal justice, outlining ways in which past cannabis-related offenses could be expunged from individuals’ records. HB 2050 calls for the release of certain people charged with cannabis-related offenses from jail within 60 days of when the bill passes.
Pennsylvania is already home to a medicinal cannabis industry that began sales in early 2018 and has sold half a billion dollars in product during its first year.