“This is an idea whose time has come,” stated Pennsylvania State Rep. Jake Wheatley while addressing the issue of adult-use cannabis. As the green tide washes over the nation, Wheatley wants his state to be there at the cutting edge and the on right side of history.
The legislation he plans to introduce will expunge criminal records and release those jailed who otherwise would not be under the proposed new law. This would be a giant leap toward social justice and would change the lives of many who have been prosecuted for the plant.
Though social reform is high on the Rep.’s list of reasons to legalize, it’s not the only one. A recent report by the state auditor predicted that cannabis could rake in $580 million dollars in tax revenue annually. Those are moneys that can also be used for the betterment of the state.
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“States from coast to coast have embraced legalization and those states are reaping the economic and criminal justice benefits,” Wheatley also said. “It is time Pennsylvania joins with those states in leaving behind the ugly stigma of marijuana.”
There are currently nine states plus the District of Columbia with recreational cannabis laws and dozens more with medicinal laws. The ugly stigma that weed’s carried for so many years is most certainly falling away from the general public’s eyes and hearts. Though there are still those at the top, making federal laws, who think that cannabis is a gateway drug or otherwise harmful.
Education, facts such as there never being a recorded death due to cannabis, and the proof in the pudding: those who imbibe pot aren’t just everywhere, they’re everyday people just trying to live their best lives, all have fallen on deaf ears when it comes to drug war warriors, who just can’t seem to put down the torch.
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Public opinion, on the other hand, carries a lot of sway in politics and at this point, according to Gallup, support for legalizing cannabis is at an all time high, with the latest figure they have putting approval rating for adult use at 64 percent. That’s nine points up from just last year and a definite majority.
Though Wheatley is proud and glad that his constituents have access to medical marijuana, at the least those most in need, he’s ready to take the next step, “The time has come for Pennsylvania to move forward with full legalization,” he said, and we couldn’t agree more.