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Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Legal Recreational Cannabis

It could become legal in the Commonwealth as soon as July.

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Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro used part of his 2024-2025 budget proposal to call for legal adult-use cannabis in his state.

"This budget recognizes that the time has come for Pennsylvania to legalize adult use cannabis. Every one of Pennsylvania’s neighbors except West Virginia has legalized adult use cannabis, including Ohio. Pennsylvania is currently at a competitive disadvantage, losing out on critical revenue and new businesses to our neighbors," he wrote.

Under the terms of the proposal, adult-use cannabis would become legal effective July 1, 2024, and sales within Pennsylvania would begin January 1, 2025. The budget proposal also includes a $5 million investment in restorative justice initiatives from adult use cannabis proceeds, in addition to the immediate expungement of the records of those incarcerated for only a possession related offense attributed to cannabis.

Shapiro said that once up and running, the state's recreational cannabis industry could yield $250 million in additional revenue for the commonwealth.

Several multi-state cannabis operators cheered the governor's proposal.

"What an important day for the citizens of the Commonwealth," said Jason Wild, Executive Chairman of TerrAscend. "With the Governor's support, we are one step closer to expanding our offerings to adult-use consumers in what we expect will be TerrAscend’s largest market.

Jushi CEO Jim Cacioppo, whose company has around 450 employees working across the Commonwealth, said the proposal has substantial support at the local, regional, state, and national level.

“This number grows even higher when the true choice is between a regulated adult-use cannabis market with tested products, inventory monitoring, and age controls versus the status quo illicit market which has none of these protections. The message is clear that the public wants a legal, regulated adult-use cannabis marketplace,” he said. “Since its creation, the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program has benefited from industry partners’ commitment to patients and public safety. Together, we have built a system that has succeeded beyond all expectations and these protections created by the program can now be applied to the adult-use cannabis marketplace. We look forward to working with Governor Shapiro to implement this commonsense policy into law for this budget cycle without further delay.”