It’s finally here- Bipartisan PA Reps announce adult-use cannabis legalization bill

17 June 2024- Reps. Aaron Kaufer (R-Luzerne) and Emily Kinkead (D-Allegheny) today announced their intention to introduce the first comprehensive, bipartisan adult-use cannabis legalization bill in the House of Representatives, prioritizing public safety, consumer protection, social equity and criminal justice reform. 

Leveraging Pennsylvania’s robust medical cannabis program and agricultural infrastructure, the proposed legislation aims to foster job creation and generate significant tax revenue for the Commonwealth, while helping eradicate the illicit market plaguing many communities.

“This bill underscores our commitment to responsible regulation of the cannabis industry while addressing the diverse needs of Pennsylvania’s communities,” said Kaufer. “By prioritizing public safety and consumer protection, this legislation will build on the successful regulatory structure of the state’s medical cannabis program, continuing stringent standards for product quality, packaging and labeling to ensure the well-being of all consumers.”

“It is well past time for the Commonwealth to legalize cannabis for recreational use, address the injustices of the failed War on Drugs, and ensure that Pennsylvanians can benefit from this industry in the same way our neighboring states have,” said Kinkead. “Our bipartisan effort to provide specific language that takes the best practices from other states is the next substantial step in finally getting this done.”

Recognizing the potential of Pennsylvania’s agricultural sector, the bill provides broad opportunities for farmers to participate in the legal cannabis market. By integrating cannabis cultivation into the state’s agricultural landscape, the legislation would not only support local farmers but also contribute to the growth of a sustainable and professionalized industry. 

Furthermore, the bill places a strong emphasis on social equity and criminal justice reform by creating opportunities for individuals disproportionately impacted by outdated cannabis policies, this all according to its authors. Through measures such as expungement of prior non-violent cannabis offenses and prioritizing licenses for small and minority-owned businesses, the legislation seeks to promote fairness and inclusivity within the industry.

The bill would also call for a transparent and accountable system of licensing and oversight under the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which was addressed by Gov. Josh Shapiro in his 2024-25 budget address in February.