Adult-use cannabis legalization is gaining steam in Pennsylvania, according to the Center Square, but Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, who leads the Republican House caucus and voting schedule said it’s not a priority.
“We are losing 15, 16 people on average per day to other addiction problems, adding another legalized substance probably is not the best message to be sending,” he said. “There’s a lot of things we’re working on now, but that’s not top of the list.”
The remarks came the same week Republican Sen. Mike Regan and Democrat Rep. Amen Brown teased their new cannabis reform bill in a memo to House colleagues.
“Legalizing and regulating cannabis is simply the right thing to do – ensuring that an equity lens is applied and that injustices caused by enforcement of drug laws are redressed,” wrote Brown. “It is right for my constituents. It is right for the economy. It is right for the commonwealth.”
As noted by Marijuana Moment, Regan was in law enforcement before politics.
“Our law enforcement agencies and justice system do not have the manpower or time to handle these minor marijuana offenses that clog our courts and produce little return,” he said. “Instead, police and prosecutors need to focus on protecting our residents from the violent criminals and large-scale drug importers that are also dealing in heroin and fentanyl, which kill thousands of Pennsylvanians each year.”
Benninghoff, however, maintains that cannabis reform should not be a state responsibility, according to the Center Square:
“Benninghoff said Wednesday that it’s the federal government’s responsibility to lift cannabis prohibitions,” they write. “It’s also unclear where Senate leadership stands on the policy.”
With the legalization efforts in neighboring New York and New Jersey on the fast track, no matter what Rep. Benninghoff may say or think or do – legalization is coming to the Keystone State sooner or later.