(WHTM) – Tuesday’s election had major implications on certain policies across the country, including the use of recreational marijuana.
Minus West Virginia, Pennsylvania is now the only state in the region that has not legalized marijuana for recreational use.
That just changed after Ohio voted to legalize it on Tuesday. Lawmakers abc27 spoke to today say it’s about time Pennsylvania does the same
Representative Ismail Smith-Wade-El (D-Lancaster) said, “I think it’s actually sort of embarrassing that Pennsylvania is still behind.”
Behind other states that have legalized recreational marijuana.
Ohio and Delaware just did, Maryland did last year, and New York and New Jersey did in 2021.
The outlook for Pennsylvania to do the same is hazy.
Representative Dave Madsen (D-Dauphin) said, “We all have to come to the table, get behind a consensus bill, vote on it, fast-track it, and get it to the governors to sign it.”
Democratic lawmakers like Madsen and Smith-Wade-El argue Pennsylvania is losing out on revenue.
Madsen said, “If they’re in Western PA now they’re gonna go to Ohio, purchase it there, and then come back and use it here.”
That may be especially true now that two major cities, both on opposite sides of the state, are very close to states that allow or will soon allow recreational marijuana.
“When we have an opportunity to boost our economy and take more people out of prison, we have to take it and the legislation is there,” said Smith-Wade-El.
That’s not worth it, according to John Daviau with Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an organization that opposes recreational use.
Daviau said, “It’s not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is about public health for Pennsylvanians.”
abc27 asked this,
“You argue that marijuana is an addictive substance but so is alcohol and that’s legal across the country and of course here in PA, so what’s the difference between the two?”
Daviau said, “We have two legal addictive substances do we really want to third.”
Daviau and other opponents argue marijuana can cause mental health issues and endanger kids.
“We have this addiction for-profit industry that needs to drive the train. And that’s really probably the biggest concern because, again, they need to target youth and young adults to be profitable,” said Daviau.
There have been bi-partisan bills introduced to allow for recreational use.
They haven’t had much movement but if they do, it is likely that Governor Josh Shapiro would sign them.