Governor Wolf Asks Pa. Lawmakers to Legalize Marijuana, Amid COVID-19 Crisis
Pennsylvania's Governor Tom Wolf called on the Pennsylvania Legislature to legalize recreational marijuana, saying the tax revenues will help offset the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wolf first called for the legalization of marijuana last September, but it was never taken up during the most recent legislative session.
Tax revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana would add to the state’s funding for small businesses — including historically disadvantaged businesses, under Wolf’s proposal, which was unveiled Tuesday.
Both Pennsylvania’s House and Senate, which are controlled by the GOP, would have to approve any legalization measure. Wolf says there has been some renewed interest from the GOP.
“My hope is that with the pandemic and the hit we’ve taken to revenues, there might be a little more interest in it now,” the governor said on Tuesday.
Governor Wolf also unveiled plans to spend the $1 billion remaining out of the CARES Act funding from the federal government, which totaled $3.6 billion for Pennsylvania.
Those measures include $250 million more in child care investments; $225 million in forgivable loans and grants to small businesses; $225 million more in hazard pay for frontline workers; $100 million for restaurants and bars across the state.
Governor Wolf says that he hopes for further federal funding to help plug the budget holes that the state is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.