Pennsylvania looks set for a renewed push to legalize adult-use cannabis with a bipartisan effort due to be filed in the Senate.

Sens. Sharif Street (D) and Dan Laughlin (R) circulated a co-sponsorship memo around their Senate colleagues to build support for a marijuana legalization proposal they are preparing to introduce.

The senators have worked on cannabis reform proposals together before and, in a similar vein to their past efforts, the latest attempt would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and establish a regulated market for legal sales.

“Legalized adult use of marijuana is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians and this legislation accomplishes that while also ensuring safety and social equity,” Laughlin said in a press release.

“With neighboring states New Jersey and New York implementing adult use, we have a duty to Pennsylvania taxpayers to legalize adult use marijuana to avoid losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue and thousands of new jobs,” he said.

The bill is yet to be officially introduced, nor has the final text been published, but the senators believe the new measure will “improve upon our proposal from last session.”

Laughlin’s legislative director, Daw Fidler, indicated the bill is still a work in progress but that it should be ready to be introduced towards the end of June.

In the accompanying press release, the senators also outlined that the bill would place a big emphasis on public safety, with law enforcement afforded powers to tackle the illicit market and determine whether a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis.

Other provisions include allowing medical marijuana patients to cultivate their own plants and strict prohibitions on marijuana advertising that targets youth.

The measure will also contain social equity provisions that would facilitate expungements for certain cannabis-related convictions and prioritize cannabusiness licenses for those most impacted by marijuana criminalization.

In the memo to fellow senators, Street and Laughlin emphasized the economic urgency of marijuana legalization by highlighting the findings of the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office which projected $400 million to $1 billion in new tax revenue should the state launch a legal cannabis market.

While previous efforts to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania have faltered, Democrat control of the House following the midterms offers hope for cannabis reform advocates, as does the staunch support of Gov. Josh Shapiro (D) and several prominent Republican lawmakers, such as Laughlin, who want to reform Pennsylvania’s cannabis laws.

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