Advocates Rally for Marijuana Reform, Legalization in Pa.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Recreational adult-use cannabis is legal in most of Pennsylvania's neighboring states, including New York, New Jersey, Delaware - and Maryland as of July 1.
For cannabis connoisseurs and advocates at the state Capitol today, reforming marijuana laws and legalizing recreational use are high on their list of priorities.
“It's time to stand together and rally for the legislation of adult use cannabis in our great state,” said Tara Zrinski, the Campaign Director for Pot Profits for Pennsylvanians, or the P3 Campaign.
Zrinski says the campaign focuses on unifying rural and urban communities and making sure it’s Pennsylvanians who benefit from any cannabis profits, not out-of-state corporations.
“We can create a cash crop for struggling farmers, boost small businesses and revitalize struggling communities,” said Zrinski. “It's about building a sustainable future for Pennsylvania, one where the profits generated by the cannabis industry stay right here,” she added.
Some Democratic lawmakers agree and say Pennsylvania can learn from its experience with medical cannabis.
“To make sure this business isn't owned by outside corporations. Right now, I kind of feel like we're owned by Colorado and New York and California,” said state Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Chester).
“Enabling local cultivation will allow Pennsylvania farmers and their communities to benefit from legalization of adult use cannabis,” said Shusterman. “This is a way that we can have local, small businesses be a part of this and revitalize the communities they’re from,” she added.
Many advocates believe Pennsylvania is closer to recreational cannabis than it ever has been. Rep. Donna Bullock (D-Philadelphia) believes now is the perfect time to ensure that there’s equal opportunity for everyone once the day arrives.
“As Pennsylvania embarks on a new industry, as we talk about regulating adult use here in the Commonwealth, we must make sure that we do things differently and that we allow opportunities for people of color, allow opportunities for woman, allow opportunities for those communities that have been left behind,” said Rep. Bullock.
“The weed should be grown here, and the profits should stay here,” said Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia).
Rabb says there’s a lot of work that needs to be done when it comes to updating the state's marijuana laws, starting with medical cannabis.
“If you’re a tenant, your landlord can kick you out for legal use of medical cannabis. If you’re an employee, you can be fired, if they find out you’re a cardholder,” said Rabb.