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Gov. Josh Shapiro urges cannabis legalization in his budget address.
Gov. Shapiro delivered his 2024-25 budget address to the General Assembly yesterday, and his budget calls for legalization by July, with sales beginning Jan. 1, 2025.
The budget also pitches $5 million to be used toward “restorative justice initiatives from adult use cannabis proceeds, in addition to the immediate expungement of the records of those incarcerated for only a possession related offense attributed to cannabis. The adult use cannabis industry in Pennsylvania, as a new potential cash crop for our farmers, will be regulated by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.”
Shapiro is proposing a 20% tax on the wholesale price of cannabis products. The budget also proposes $2 million in “adult-use cannabis enforcement” funding.
A mature adult use industry in Pennsylvania is estimated to “yield $250 million in additional revenue for the Commonwealth,” according to an announcement about the budget issued by the governor’s office.
“We’re losing out on an industry that, once fully implemented, would bring in more than 250 million dollars in annual revenue. And our failure to legalize and regulate this only fuels the black market and drains much-needed resources for law enforcement,” Shapiro said during his address. “It’s time to catch up. I ask you to come together and send to my desk a bill that legalizes marijuana.”
Pennsylvania is boxed in by states that have legalized, including New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Ohio. Shapiro noted that Pennsylvania is falling behind those states, and also that lawmakers should think about job creation and equity.
“That bill should ensure the industry is regulated and taxed responsibly… That we create jobs and build wealth here in Pennsylvania, especially in the communities that have been disproportionately harmed by criminalization,” Shapiro added. “And that those who have been convicted for nonviolent possession of small amounts of marijuana have their records expunged.”
Many Pennsylvania lawmakers, and former Gov. Tom Wolf and former Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, have pushed for legalization in the past. The appetite in the legislature just hasn’t been there. We’ll see soon if that’s changed.
+ Related: on the heels of Gov. Shapiro’s budget announcement, state Sen. Sharif Street and Wana Brands CMO Joe Hodas announced a podcast titled “Planting Seeds.”
Street has supported legalization for years and, along with Sen. Dan Laughlin, has introduced adult use legislation. (Street is a Democrat and Laughlin is a Repubican.)
“I’m pleased that Governor Shapiro has made adult-use legislation a priority for fiscal year 2024-25,” Street said in the podcast announcement. “Our goal is to implement a just and equitable adult-use program in Pennsylvania which can only be accomplished through bi-partisanship.”
Curaleaf’s latest move in Europe.
Curaleaf International announced this week it will acquire Can4Med, a wholesaler of cannabis-derived medicines in Poland.
This latest move builds upon the company’s expansion in the UK and Europe, as its portfolio of now includes entities like Terra Verde in Portugal and Four 20 Pharma in Germany.
New York regulators hire TPI auditors.
The New York Office of Cannabis Management has signed a $6,877,000 contract with FTI Consulting to serve as “Temporary True Party of Interest (TPI) auditors,” according to the newly approved contract, which Cannabis Wire spotted.
FTI, which is a global company based in D.C., has been working on various aspects of cannabis since 2019.