Pennsylvania governor calls for legalizing marijuana as part of Covid-19 economic recovery plan

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf released a legislative agenda Wednesday to assist in the Covid-19 economic recovery, including legalizing recreational marijuana.

In a press release outlining his agenda, Wolf asked the legislature to legalize recreational marijuana — with some of the proceeds going to grants for existing small businesses and 50% of the funds dedicated to historically disadvantaged businesses.

In addition to the small business grant funding, Wolf also called for a portion of the revenue be used to “further restorative justice programs that give priority to repairing the harm done to crime victims and communities as a result of marijuana criminalization,” the release says. He also asked that the General Assembly pursue criminal justice reform policies that would “restore justice” for those convicted of marijuana-related offenses.

The governor proposed several other initiatives, including providing hazard pay to front line workers, expanding access to child care, government reform measures and additional support for small businesses. These proposals come after “a spring and summer of Republican efforts to curtail the administration’s efforts” in managing the pandemic’s impact, Wolf said in the release.

“House and Senate Democrats have been fighting for progress to protect families and businesses in these spaces since the beginning of the pandemic, but they have been stopped at every turn by the Republican majority focused on ignoring the public health crisis,” Wolf said.

“That must stop now. The legislature must come back and take immediate steps to provide funding to frontline workers and businesses, put in place protections for families and our workforce, and make these commonsense reforms that can provide confidence in our government. Pennsylvanians need relief, they need reform, and they need it now.”

The funds for these initiatives would come from revenue generated from the legalization of recreational marijuana and $1 billion in CARES Act funding that has been placed on reserve, according to the release.