Last week, the 2022 session for Pennsylvania’s legislature began. Last year saw several legalization and decriminalization proposals, but none received a hearing or were called for a vote. Luckily, many of the 2021 proposals have carried over to 2022, which presents another opportunity to enact sensible, humane cannabis policy before the session adjourns in November.
Despite Pennsylvania authorizing medical cannabis in 2016, it remains one of 19 states that continues to punish cannabis possession with jail time in most parts of the state. Let’s urge the legislature to end this injustice in 2022.
SB 107, sponsored by Sen. Sharif Street (D), would reclassify possession of a small amount of cannabis from a misdemeanor to a summary offense carrying a $25 fine. Public use would be a $100 fine. HB 204, sponsored by Rep. Edward Gainey (D), would reduce the penalty for possession of a small amount of cannabis to a fine of up to $100. Neither bill received a hearing in 2021, but both bills have been carried over to 2022.
Last year, several legalization bills were proposed, although none received a hearing. In the House, Rep. Jake Wheatley (D) sponsored HB 2050, which is the third version of Rep. Wheatley’s legalization proposal. Also in the House, Rep. David Delloso (D) sponsored HB 1180, which would legalize and regulate cannabis for adults. However, HB 1180 seeks to establish state-controlled cannabis stores similar to those for alcohol, which would be in direct contradiction to federal law prohibiting state employees from working directly with cannabis. Both bills carried over into the 2022 session.
Meanwhile in the Senate, Sen. Daniel Laughlin (R) sponsored SB 473, which would also set up a legalization framework for the Keystone State. SB 473 also carried over to 2022.
Action: Tell your legislators it’s time to support legalization!
Be sure to reach out to your lawmakers to let them know you want them to end arrests for cannabis possession and to legalize cannabis for adult use this session! After you reach out, please urge your friends and family in Pennsylvania to do the same.