The U.S. has the largest cannabis market in the world and is about a third of the world’s cannabis industry, most states across the U.S. have functioning medical marijuana programs and a few have legalized recreational marijuana. Having realized that it is better they totally take charge of the market and thus ensure quality control and set regulations that would help the industry function effectively. States like California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon have a thriving recreational market which has helped its economy as well.
One of such states that are looking to legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania. This petition has been pushed by Sen. Wheatley and this would be his second attempt after the first effort House Bill 50 didn’t make it through the legislature. This time the proposed bill, House Bill 250 is an improved version that has taken into consideration factors that hindered the passage of the first bill. This new bill also includes provisions for social and criminal reform where past users of cannabis would be let out of prison if still been held or their records are wiped clean except violent activities are recorded against such an individual.
A survey carried out showed that 59% of respondents were in favor of the bill’s passage. This new bill would also create a revenue system for the state where they would earn taxes from the licensed growers, processors, and dispensaries. Which would be used to fund after school programs for youth, affordable housing, and student loan grant. Another attempt at the legalization of marijuana was pushed by Daylin Leach and Sharif Street towards the end of last year. This bill was called Senate Bill 350, this bill would also help the state make money, allow home delivery and expunge the previous criminal cannabis convictions.
The Senate 350 bill also has provisions for users to grow their plant and lounges where people can comfortably use their products without disturbing others. If approved the state could make almost $500 million in the first year of legalization and the funds would be shared among the school districts, which would then be used based on their discretion. Evidently, there are serious push from so many quarters as to the legalization and it is ultimately a question of when rather than if. With this carefully laid out, what will the legalization do for Pennsylvania? Let’s take a look in..
Increase In Revenue
Presently, the state has earned millions in taxes which is even quite reasonable based on the fact that medical marijuana has to be taxed lightly as not to increase the burden on people who are managing to pay for their treatment expenses. But this could drastically increase with recreational marijuana which would be taxed higher and has a huge market in the waiting to partake. Even beyond the government, it would lead to an expansion for the existing cannabis businesses as most of these dispensaries would be tasked with the responsibility of providing recreational stores even before new businesses are licensed. So this would be a win-win all parties involved, the state, the businesses, and the people who would be able to access marijuana quickly.
More Employment Opportunities
Full legalization of recreational marijuana would result in the creation of more jobs as this would automatically mean that more customers would have to be attended to. This would result in the need for more growers, cultivators, processors, dispensaries, lab technicians, physicians, and so many more openings. The ripple effect would also be seen across other professions needed to merge with the cannabis industry. So far, since the inception of the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania, it has grossed $525 million and it is barely three years into its inception, now imagine the numbers that would revolve in the recreational market, it would be well over that.
Better Economic And Educational Outlook
Going by the various bills that have been proposed one thing is sure and that is the fact that all have proposed that the tax the government makes be pumped into schools and used to relieve student loans. And you know an economy is better off when its citizens are free of debt and thus their purchasing power is increased which overall impacts the economy. Schools have also been highlighted to be huge benefactors in this proposition as they would have more funds to employ more teachers, improve infrastructure and learning environment.
Eradication Of Black Market
It cannot be denied that the black market is one strong component that has been waxing strong over time and there has been little the government can do in curbing that system except it takes what goes on behind the scene and brings it to the front burner where it can control and regulate the activities. The black market gives people access to marijuana when they want and most times they could sell inferior quality as there would be no one to question them, it is either you buy it or you move along. But with legalization, the government can ensure that quality is guaranteed.
And with this legalization people who aren’t sick wouldn’t need a PA medical marijuana card just a valid I.D and they would be able to get their favorite snack and product of the counter. Someone might ask wouldn’t this affect the medical marijuana program? No, it won’t and they would even run well concurrently as the medical marijuana program has tax reduction programs.