Marijuana Legalization Ramps Up: Is Pennsylvania Next?


Nov. 20 2020, Updated 12:31 p.m. ET

Marijuana legalization is ramping up in the US. President Trump thinks that the decision should be made at the state level. As a result, states have been working towards legalization. Pennsylvania could be next!

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Pennsylvania is pushing for recreational marijuana legalization

The state legalized medical cannabis in 2016. Now, the state wants to legalize recreational cannabis. On Wednesday, USA Today reported that Pennsylvania’s governor called for recreational cannabis legalization. Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman released a report on Wednesday. The report discussed Fetterman’s Statewide Cannabis Listening Tour in 67 Pennsylvania counties. They conducted the tour to understand the public’s interest in legalizing marijuana. The report revealed positive and negative results in the states that legalized marijuana.

Driven by public support and the survey results, Wolf and Fetterman proposed the following actions.

  • They want a bill that would decriminalize non-violent and small cannabis-related offenses.
  • The state would expunge past convictions of non-violent and small cannabis-related crimes.
  • They would urge the General Assembly to “seriously debate and consider” the legalization of recreational marijuana.

Previously, Pennsylvania decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana in many of its largest cities. The state proposed the legislation in the Senate. Pennsylvania introduced the legislation in the House as well.

Lots of support in Pennsylvania

Currently, there’s a lot of support for marijuana legalization. Fetterman’s tour in February revealed that 65%–70% of the attendees supported legalization. Around 80%–90% also asked for marijuana decriminalization.

In 2018, Governor Wolf wasn’t fully in favor of legalization. However, he wanted to learn from other states’ legalization experiences. I think that citizens’ drastic support and other states’ legalization benefits pushed the governor to take this stance.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Eugene DePasquale also praised the governor’s reform. In a statement, he said, “My research shows that regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use could generate up to $581 million in new revenue annually, money that Pennsylvania could use to strengthen support for education, fight opioid addiction and expand access to health care.”

Could Republicans challenge marijauna legalization?

We know that 2020 Democratic candidates support marijuana legalization. However, Republicans still oppose legalization in many states like South Dakota and Texas. Republicans also oppose legalization in Pennsylvania. Most Republicans in both the chambers spoke against the governor’s call. The House Republican leadership team said, “Our caucus has no plans or interest in legalizing recreational marijuana. “We are disappointed, and frustrated Governor Wolf would promote recreational use of drug classified as a Schedule I narcotic by the federal government.”

The Republican-controlled Senate will likely create hurdles for President Trump even if he supports cannabis legalization. Notably, the House and Senate have to approve a bill for it to become a law in the US.

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How will the cannabis industry benefit from legalization?

Only state-wise legalization is allowed in the US, which restricts cannabis companies from expanding fully in the US. Canadian cannabis companies have grown in a few US states where medical cannabis is legal. Currently, 33 states have legalized medical cannabis.

However, recreational cannabis still isn’t allowed in many US states. Most of the demand is in the recreational cannabis business. Aurora Cannabis (ACB), Canopy Growth (CGC) (WEED), Cronos Group (CRON), and Aphria (APHA) plan to expand. Canada will legalize edibles, vapes, and concentrates next month. The cannabis industry has strong fundamentals and growth potential. However, tighter and clear regulations are essential.

Analysts are optimistic about Aphria’s growth. The company reported strong financial results in the fourth quarter. Aphria expects to deliver a stronger performance in fiscal 2020. To expand the CBD business in Germany, Aphria launched CannRelief, a CBD-based nutraceutical and cosmetics product line in April. The company also plans to launch a wider range of CBD products in Germany this year.

Aurora Cannabis and Canopy Growth disappointed investors in the recent quarter. However, they’re strong cannabis players. They could bounce back with stronger results after Cannabis 2.0. Aurora Cannabis plans to develop its hemp-based products through its acquisition of Hempco Food and Fiber. Canopy Growth plans to boost the US CBD market with its New York hemp-growing facility and new acquisition of AgriNext USA.

So far, Aurora Cannabis has fallen 13.4%, while Aphria has fallen 11.6% in September. Cronos Group has fallen 13.1%, while Canopy Growth has gained 4.7% in September.

Will more states legalize marijuana? 

Currently, cannabis is legal in Colorado, Alaska, California, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington. We have already discussed what other states like Wisconsin, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, California, Oklahoma, and Washington are doing about marijuana legalization and existing laws. Notably, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Vermont might attempt to legalize marijuana next.

Countries including Thailand, New Zealand, and Mexico support cannabis legalization. Will President Trump take bold action and support cannabis legalization?

Stay with us for more updates on the cannabis industry.


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