Legalization will Put Pennsylvania on a Level Playing Field with Neighboring States by Bolstering Tax Revenue, Creating Jobs, and Expanding Social Equity Opportunities, and Consumer Access

(Harrisburg, PA) Today, ResponsiblePA announced the formation of a coalition with the goal to help support the legalization of adult-use cannabis in 2024 through the Pennsylvania legislature as lawmakers convened a hearing to discuss legalizing cannabis across the Commonwealth. This move follows a recent budget address by PA Gov. Josh Shapiro during which the Governor touted a windfall of $14.8 million in the industry’s first year of operation and $250 million in annual tax revenue once the industry is established.

ResponsiblePA’s diverse coalition brings together patient advocates, doctors, scientists, researchers, laboratories, economic development groups, members of law enforcement, local elected officials, labor, and civil and social equity community organizations from across Pennsylvania.

With 90 percent of the Commonwealth’s neighboring states already legalizing cannabis and a robust medical operation in the state for nearly a decade – the ResponsiblePA coalition believes the time is now to legalize cannabis. Legalizing cannabis will protect consumers from harmful unregulated products, protect patient access, help end the illicit market, dissuade consumers from purchasing products across state lines, and keep tens of millions of dollars in revenue in our state to fund crucial projects.

As many as 66 percent of Pennsylvania voters support legalization. Today, Pennsylvania has the opportunity to build from the success of its medical cannabis program while ensuring full market access for regulated products. Just as we do with medical cannabis, we can properly regulate adult-use marijuana with stringent health and safety standards backed by regulatory oversight,” said Rob Greene, Republican District Attorney of Warren County. 

“Pennsylvania has the opportunity to adopt best practices and international standards in the key areas of packaging and labeling, marketing, and other measures that will protect consumers, children, pets, and the public at large,” said Dr. David Nathan, co-founder and past president of Doctors for Drug Policy Reform and Pennsylvania native.

“Legalization allows for the safe regulation of cannabis, ensuring Pennsylvania products are accurately tested, labeled, and determined safe for consumption. This protects consumers from risks associated with unregulated markets, such as contamination and undisclosed potency,” said Karrissa M. Miller, founding partner of US Cannalytics, a leading cannabis testing laboratory operating in Bethlehem, PA and throughout the East Coast. 

“As the parent and caregiver of a child in Pennsylvania’s medical program for six years, I’m eager for our state to legalize and stand by the many patient advocates who believe the Commonwealth is far behind neighboring states in updating commonsense policies around the cannabis plant. We look forward to continued access, affordability, and diversity for patients under a full legalized framework,” said Colleen Mercedes, Pennsylvania patient advocate.

“We cannot allow Pennsylvania’s neighboring states to take our potential tax revenue when we can have it right here; we have the infrastructure and it is just a matter of a simple law that needs to be passed. Legalization will be much more accommodating to veterans who want the privacy to be able to consume. I am asking my fellow Republican colleagues to join the fight and help us veterans,” said Dave Harger, CEO and founder, VETForce.

“The economic potential for adult-use cannabis access in Pennsylvania is immense. We would hope this is something that the state can look at and consider. We have a medical marijuana facility in our county and it has been positive in many aspects,” said Mike Flanagan, president, Clinton County Economic Partnership.

“Cannabis legalization must be done quickly but purposefully, and ensure meaningful economic opportunities for Pennsylvania’s black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs,” said David Dix, co-founder, Pennsylvania Chamber for Black Owned Businesses.

“Cannabis legalization serves as a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurship and job creation in the Commonwealth. Lackawanna College is actively striving to assist in building a talent pipeline by educating students through the college’s Cannabis Professional Certificate Program,” said William J. Schoen, director, Office of Continuing Education and Cannabis, Lackawanna College.

ResponsiblePA’s promise to the Commonwealth is to foster an adult-use cannabis program that will keep communities safe, help end the illicit market, provide for communities most impacted by failed policy, and provide opportunity for the citizens of Pennsylvania. The coalition will ensure that licensed regulated sales happen on Day 1 of implementation.

ResponsiblePA is urging lawmakers to pass a comprehensive adult-use bill in this year’s budget. The group is actively engaging policymakers and building support through public education.