A Pittsburgh-area legislator said he will introduce legislation to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use.
Pa. Rep. Jake Wheatley (D., Allegheny) said his bill also will include provisions to expunge criminal records for marijuana-related convictions that would be considered lawful under the act.
"States from coast to coast have embraced legalization and those states are reaping the economic and criminal-justice benefits," Wheatley said in a statement, citing polling support for the measure. "It is time Pennsylvania joins with those states in leaving behind the ugly stigma of marijuana."
Several similar bills have been introduced in the state senate, only to languish from a lack of wide legislative support. St. Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) has proposed legalizing cannabis and distributing it through the state store system.
Nine states — including Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont in the Northeast — and the District of Columbia already have legalized the drug for adult recreational use.
Wheatley, chairman of the House Finance Committee, pointed to last week's report by Pa. Auditor General Eugene DePasquale that estimated the commonwealth could generate more than $580 million a year in tax revenue if marijuana was legal.