Community Issues

PA Rep Introduces Bill to Legalize Pot, How You Can Weigh In

Democrat Jake Wheatley's bill would legalize recreational use and clear the records of people convicted of pot-related crimes.

A state representative from Pittsburgh and 25 co-sponsors have introduced legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. Rep. Jake Wheatley, a Democrat from the city's Hill District introduced the bill at a news conference with his co-sponsors in Harrisburg this afternoon, and afterwards, made the case for it on his Facebook page:

House Bill 50 would allow adults 21 and older buy marijuana and grow a limited number of pot plants for personal use. lt would also clear the criminal histories of people who were convicted of marijuana related crimes, and return the drivers and professional licenses those people lost because of their convictions.

Wheatley's bill taxes marijuana at 35%, which the state Auditor General has said could generate $580 million in new revenue for the state. Individual counties could also tax pot sales up to 3% for things like after school programs, children and youth services, and to fund the District Attorney and Public Defender's offices.

"This is not just about cannabis. It's about making sure we are righting some of the wrongs of a failed war on drugs." PA Rep. Jake Wheatley

Meantime, Lt. Governor John Fetterman has released dates and locations for his first "listening tours" on legalizing marijuana. The first two are next Monday 2/11 and Tuesday 2/12 in Harrisburg and Newport (both in the central part of the state). Fetterman has vowed to visit every county in Pennsylvania during his tour. His office says they'll release additional dates and launch a website by the end of the week. We'll keep you posted.

Want to weigh in on the debate?

  • Rep. Wheatley has an on-line petition you can sign in support of his bill.
  • Keystone Progress and also have an on-line petition to legalize recreational marijuana use.
  • The Pennsylvania Cannabis Connection has an on-line petition to support legalizing home-grown marijuana by medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.

We couldn't find any petitions you can sign to oppose legalizing marijuana, but click HERE to find out how to contact your state lawmakers and make your voice heard.

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