Wheatley applauds governor, lt. governor in joining call to urge legislature to take up effort to legalize adult-use cannabis

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman urging legislators in the House and Senate to consider several bills, including his measure (H.B. 2050) to legalize adult-use cannabis:

“For over a year, I have urged my colleagues in both chambers to meet me at the table to discuss legalization. Unfortunately, my bill and others continue to languish in committee, while our state faces an unprecedented budget shortfall.

"It’s clear and the people of the commonwealth have spoken: the time to legalize is now. Through my bill, legalization of adult-use cannabis would provide millions of dollars of revenue, create jobs and support grant programs to help minority- and women-owned businesses. It also includes a provision, called the Cannabis Clean Slate initiative, which would expunge cannabis-related offenses for non-violent offenders.

"During today’s news conference, Lt. Governor Fetterman said nearly a quarter of a million Pennsylvanians have been arrested for nothing more than consuming a plant that’s legal in several areas of our country. Those same people find it tougher to get a job, pass a criminal background check, or get a business loan – all because of possession or use of cannabis. That, in and of itself, is indeed criminal.

"For those who are fearful that such a move would put children at risk of using cannabis, nothing could be further from the truth. Our efforts include strict regulations related to the production and sale of cannabis, making it tougher to get into the hands of young people. Furthermore, there is no evidence of overdose as it relates to cannabis use. The same can’t be said of alcohol.

"Legalizing adult-use cannabis could help our state’s agriculture industry, providing an additional cash crop opportunity for farmers.

"New Jersey is set to legalize cannabis in about two months’ time. We’ve waited long enough. I’ve repeatedly asked my colleagues to join me and have the discussion. There’s no better time than now to act.”