If there was any doubt that Tom Wolf was decided to make marijuana legalization a actuality this yr, the Pennsylvania governor put that to relaxation on Wednesday.

In a pair of tweets, Wolf reiterated his name to finish prohibition on grownup leisure pot use within the Keystone State, saying the income generated might be essential in restoring the financial system that has been battered by the pandemic.

“I want to see Pennsylvania begin the process to legalize adult-use marijuana this year,” Wolf said Wednesday morning. “The profits from this measure would be used to help us recover from COVID. Plus, it’s past time that we restore justice to those harmed by marijuana criminalization.”

He followed up that tweet with one other through which he inspired constituents to inform legislators “you want to keep up with other states and legalize adult-use marijuana.”

The Cannabis Status in Neighboring States

The reference to different states was well timed, in that two of Pennsylvania’s neighbors—New Jersey and New York—are additionally taking steps towards legalization. In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced plans in January to introduce a “a proposal to legalize cannabis and create an equitable adult-use cannabis program in [New York state]” that he stated would “generate much-needed revenue, while allowing us to support those that have been most harmed by decades of failed cannabis prohibition.”

Over in New Jersey, in the meantime, lawmakers have been ironing out particulars of a invoice to implement a regulated marijuana program after voters within the state handed a measure final yr legalizing leisure pot.

Like Cuomo, Wolf introduced his intention to pursue legalization in a January deal with that outlined his legislative priorities. As he did on Wednesday, Wolf drew consideration to the actions of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states.

“Now as our neighbors move toward legalizing recreational marijuana, Pennsylvania cannot afford to be left behind,” Wolf said in a press release on the time. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis has strong bipartisan support among Pennsylvanians. The revenue generated from legalization will be used to support historically disadvantaged small businesses through grant funding and provide them the assistance they need to build back from the economic crisis and strengthen our economy. Additionally, a portion of the revenue will support restorative justice programs to help the individuals and communities that have been adversely harmed by the criminalization of marijuana.”

It’s a change in tune for Wolf, who in 2017 said that Pennsylvania wasn’t able to legalize leisure pot use. 

The financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic could immediate lawmakers to think about legalization as a means of mitigating income shortfalls introduced on by lockdown measures. Wolf made heavy reference to that in his speech in January.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed Pennsylvania and exacerbated existing barriers for too many Pennsylvanians. It continues to have negative consequences for businesses, workers, and families throughout the commonwealth,” Wolf said. “To get Pennsylvania back on track from the disruptions the pandemic is causing, we need to make major, targeted investments to strengthen our economy, support workers and small business owners, rebuild our infrastructure, and help all Pennsylvanians build a path to financial security.”

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