(WHTM) – Pennsylvania is one of 29 states that does not allow recreational marijuana despite bipartisan efforts to legalize it.
In 2016 Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed legislation legalizing medical marijuana, which the governor’s office says “refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom.”
The program offers access for patients “with a serious medical condition through a safe and effective method of delivery that balances patient need for access to the latest treatments with patient care and safety.”
Since then there have been discussions and efforts on how to take the next step in Pennsylvania to fully legalize recreational marijuana. In February 2022 Pennsylvania’s general assembly took up the legislation to legalize marijuana for the first time after a bipartisan bill was introduced the year prior.
In July 2022 then-Governor Wolf signed a law that authorizes certain financial institutions to work with legitimate cannabis-related businesses, primarily medical marijuana operators.
Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman also pushed for pardoning those with marijuana convictions. In September 2022 they announced an effort to “quickly pardon” thousands of Pennsylvanians who have received marijuana-related convictions after already pardoning hundreds for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.
Governor Shapiro did not lay out any policy issues during his inauguration speech but did stress the importance of democracy and bipartisanship.
Since declaring his candidacy in October 2021, Governor Shapiro tweeted about marijuana 24 times. His primary message was the need to legalize and tax marijuana while also expunging the criminal records “for those serving time for possessing small amounts of marijuana.“
In 2019 as Attorney General, Shapiro said he supported legalizing marijuana for those over 21, which included regulating and taxing it. He’s yet to outline any official policy plans as Governor.
Now as Governor Shapiro will sign ethics orders for his administration later this week, aides say, and will deliver his first speech to a joint session of the Legislature when he presents his first budget plan on March 7.
Shapiro also resigned Tuesday as attorney general, leaving in control his top deputy of six years, Michelle Henry, 54, a career prosecutor from Bucks County whom Shapiro plans to nominate to fill the last two years of his term.
The Associated Press contributed to this report