Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney believes Pennsylvania should consider selling recreational marijuana in state-run liquor stores.
Earlier this week, Kenney, the democratic force behind a 2014 marijuana decriminalization ordinance in the “City of Brotherly Love,” told WHYY’s “Radio Times” that the state already has the ideal infrastructure in place to operate a taxed and regulated pot market.
“To me we have the perfect system to set up the legal recreational use of cannabis through a controlled state store system allowing the state to capture all the income that is going to the underground,” he said.
By allowing legal marijuana to be overseen entirely by the state, Kenney believe it would be next to impossible for minors to gain access. This he knows from past experience.
“The hardest place to get served underage in Philadelphia when I was growing up was a Pennsylvania state liquor store,” he said. “You could get a bartender to look the other way and sell you a six-pack when you are 19, but when you went into a state store they wanted to see a license, your license. They didn’t care.”
There is a bill currently lingering in committee that seeks to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. However, the measure does not have much momentum and will not likely be given the time of day in the 2017 session. But even if it did, Governor Tom Wolf, who is an above average supporter of cannabis reform, does not feel that Pennsylvania is ready to launch a scene where marijuana is sold in a manner similar to beer.
“I am for decriminalizing the holding of small amounts of recreational marijuana,” he told Radio PA back in March. “But, I am not for legalizing recreational marijuana because I don’t think we are ready for that yet in Pennsylvania.”
But the state better get ready, because the voters are becoming increasingly more supportive of ending marijuana prohibition.
A new Franklin & Marshall poll — released on Thursday — shows that 56 percent of the Pennsylvania population now believes marijuana should be made legal for recreational use. This is the first time the majority of the voters have sided with the concept of legal weed since the poll first began back in 2006.
But the most likely scenario for Pennsylvania, at least this year, is statewide marijuana decimalization.
Governor Wolf has said several times that if the state legislature puts a bill on his desk, asking to eliminate the criminal penalties associated with pot possession, he would sign it.