Wheatley, Frankel introduce bill to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana

Legislation would result in lasting social justice, economic benefits for PA

HARRISBURG, Sept. 28 – State Reps. Jake Wheatley and Dan Frankel, both D-Allegheny, unveiled new legislation Tuesday to decriminalize, regulate and tax adult-use, recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania.

This bill, to be known as H.B. 2050, would make it legal for anyone 21 and older to purchase and consume recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. The proposal would also provide for direct participation in the cannabis industry by individuals in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of marijuana, and by small diverse and disadvantaged businesses, laying the foundation for enhancing social and economic equity for individuals and communities that have been and continue to be adversely impacted by the criminalization of marijuana.

“I’m once again championing the effort to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. We’ve heard from residents across the state, and the overwhelming majority agree it’s time to pass this initiative,” said Wheatley, who first introduced similar legislation in 2017. “Not only would it create jobs and generate much-needed revenue, but it contains important social justice provisions that would eliminate the aggressive enforcement of simple marijuana possession laws in marginalized communities.”

House Bill 2050 would also establish multiple grant programs that would benefit small, minority and women-owned businesses in Pennsylvania. These programs would be funded by revenue collected from marijuana sales tax. In the end, this legislation would have lasting economic and social justice impacts in the commonwealth.

“Failed cannabis policies of the past have resulted in the worst of all possible worlds: insufficient protection of the public health, aggressive enforcement that disproportionately harms communities of color and zero revenue for this commonwealth,” said Frankel, who serves as the Democratic chair of the House Health Committee. “With this legislation, Pennsylvania can begin to repair the historical harms and reap the benefits of a fact-based approach to regulating the cultivation, commerce and use of cannabis for adults over 21 years old.”

If passed, Pennsylvania would join 16 other states, including neighboring New York and New Jersey, in legalizing adult-use recreational marijuana.