Governor Wolf announced on August 25, 2020, a call to action for the state legislature to legalize recreational marijuana, which he cited as a strong potential source of revenue for the commonwealth. The proposed legalization plan was part of a larger package of COVID-19-related relief programs, which include $255 million for hazard pay for frontline workers, $10 million for a PPE reimbursement program, and $327 million for childcare-related programs. He also called on the legislature to adopt a $325 million forgivable loan program for small businesses and a six-month reduction or elimination of the alcohol tax for the hospitality industry.
Under Governor Wolf’s plan, revenue from recreational marijuana sales would fund small businesses. Half of the funding would be allocated to historically disadvantaged businesses, and a portion of the revenue would be used to further restorative justice programs intended to benefit communities and people harmed as a result of cannabis criminalization.
Governor Wolf has called for legalization of recreational cannabis in the past; however, the economic devastation of the coronavirus and the need for additional streams of state revenue may prompt the legislature to consider the proposal more seriously.
For more information on Governor Wolf’s proposal, see his press release.