Pennsylvania governor changes opinion on adult-use cannabis legalization

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Pennsylvania governor changes opinion on adult-use cannabis legalization

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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One of the most populous states in the nation could soon become cannabis-friendly, after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared that the issue of legal weed will be tackled in a number of forthcoming legislative sessions.

Wolf, a Democratic governor who has served two terms, is a former anti-cannabis politician. His tune has most certainly changed, with the Pennsylvania Governor now saying that the state ought to seriously contemplate legalizing the plant. He has been paying close attention to sweeping legalization that resulted in two-thirds of the U.S. map turning green by the end of 2018.

Wolf has stressed the importance of gleaning political and public opinion on legal weed in Pennsylvania. This is a priority for the governor, who is eyeing up nearby New Jersey and New York, where cannabis legalization is also being strongly considered.

Cannabis in Pennsylvania could be a billion-dollar industry

(Pictured) Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

Since Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis law was signed into law by Wolf back in 2016, he has monitored the launch and steady progression of the program. The state revealed that it would issue 23 new medical cannabis permits in December of last year.

During his first term, Wolf demonstrated the benefits that a state cannabis policy in Pennsylvania would have on the opioid epidemic. Many studies suggest that legal weed is reducing opioid prescription rates in states that have permitted the plant in some form.

Although political obstacles must first be overcome, legal recreational weed in Pennsylvania would likely constitute a significant portion of the U.S. cannabis market.

Cannabis entrepreneurs are sure to kick-start operations statewide, where $1 billion is estimated to be pulled in by the recreational market on an annual basis. This is based on Pennsylvania’s population of 13 million.

Cannabis in Pennsylvania not supported by Legislature

Despite the success of medical cannabis in Pennsylvania, recreational legalization could be put on the back-burner for a while. Well, if the Republican-controlled Legislature has anything to do with it. Lawmakers have been supportive of Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program, but the Legislature has not exactly been open to the idea of recreational use.

Plus, with Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman recently branding cannabis as a “gateway drug,” it’s clear that the road ahead for legalization is not going to be without its speed bumps. Notwithstanding, the state is still reaping the financial rewards of its medical cannabis program. Since the state registry was officially launched in October of 2017, the registered patient count has far exceeded 80,000.

Recreational cannabis advocate, Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, plans to host a listening session in all of the Keystone State’s 67 counties in the ensuing months.